GRPCC eNews 29 - December 2017
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Life and Death Matters 

The GRPCC eNews Life & Death Matters will be sent out monthly to provide you with current information about the work being carried out by the GRPCC and its members, as well as upcoming education and training. If you have been forwarded the GRPCC eNews from a colleague or friend and would like to receive your own copy, click the subscribe button below
From all the staff at the GRPCC, we would like to wish you a very merry Christmas and happy and safe new year.  Thank you all for your support in 2017 and we look forward to an exciting 2018.
Welcome to this enewsletter-
    • GRPCC A month in review
    • GRPCC website
    • Carer Symptom Management sheets
  • Education and events
    • Palliative Approach for Personal Care Workers
    • Contemporary Practice in Palliative Care
  • Resources and information 
    • Upcoming changes to medical decision making laws
    • CareSearch
  • In the news/ research
    • No, most people aren’t in severe pain when they die
    • Calvary launches the new Palliative and End of life Care Research Institute
    • It’s not all about death: conversations with patients in palliative care   
    • LGBTQ at the End-of-Life: Needs and Challenges 
    • What makes life worth living in the face of death
  • Newsletters / Communique
    • Victoria's end of life and palliative care framework communique
    • Residential Aged Care Communique
    • PalliAGED -

A month in review 

The month of November commenced with the Advance Care Planning Seminar held at Century Inn, Traralgon.  Speakers Claire McNamara and Barbara Hayes did a fantastic job as always and feedback from the evening was very positive. We would like to thank the Gippsland PHN and GRPCCS for their support in running this evening.

We are excited to announce Gippsland's successful  bid to host three community sessions for an exciting end of life project Unspoken :What will Become of Me.  The GRPCC will be working closely with the Bass Coast, East Gippsland and Baw Baw Shire Councils and the Gippsland PHN to assist the Health Issues Centre.  Stay tuned to the GRPCC newsletter for more updates in the coming months.

GRPCC website   

A new GRPCC website is almost complete, with plans to launch early in the new year. The new design will provide users with more streamlined access to all the valuable tools that the GRPCC has to offer.

The existing GRPCC website  is still available in the interim with all the useful documents and links that we have previously provided to you. Please be aware that the website is not formatted as usually and may appear messy.  We appreciate your patience during this time.
Carer Symptom Management sheets

The GRPCC Clinical Practice Group (CPG) has produced multiple guidelines and documents to assist health professionals and carers in recognising and delivering evidence based practice in palliative care.
The importance of evidence based practice cannot be underestimated in the palliative care environment, whether in the community, in residential aged care, or the inpatient setting. We will be featuring one of the guidelines each newsletter. This month highlights Carer Symptom Management sheets, covering the topics
  • Steps to relieve Anxiety and Restlessness
  • Steps to relieve Constipation
  • Steps to relieve Pain
  • Steps to relieve Difficulty in breathing
  • Steps to relieve Nausea and Vomiting
To view the Carer Symptom Management sheets and other CPG endorsed Guidelines click on the buttons below.
Carer Symptom Management Sheets
GRPCC CPG Guidelines
Education and Events

Palliative Approach for Personal Care Workers

PEPA aims to improve health care, aged care and disability support workers’ knowledge, skills and confidence in the palliative approach to care for people with a life-limiting illness.

This workshop is interactive and provides time for discussion through case presentations and examples. 
Topics covered include:
  • What is the palliative approach?
  • Cancer and Life limiting illnesses- What you need to know
  • Assessment and care planning
  • Managing common symptoms
  • Supporting the psychosocial needs of clients
  • Supporting the spiritual needs of clients
  • Caring for the professional caregiver. 
Date:    Thursday 15th February, 2018
Time:   9.30 - 3.00 (registrations open at 9am)
Venue: Education Centre
             Gippsland Southern Health Service, Leongatha
Cost:   Free
Click here to view flyer
Click here to register

Contemporary Practice in Palliative Care
For Health Professionals

West Gippsland Healthcare Group, PalliCAAT and GRPCC would like to invite health professionals to attend a full day education session on the contemporary issues in palliative care.
Guest speakers include:
Alison Giles (Palliative Care Physician)
Irene Murphy & Maryann Bills (Nurse Practitioners)
Tim Wendt (Pharmacist)
Bridget Ludlow (Dietician) & Jaime Vourgaslis (Speech Pathologist)
John Reeves (Clinical Psychologist)
and Michael Kunze (GP)

Date:     Friday 23rd Feb, 2018
Time:    9.00 - 4.30 (registrations  open at 8.30am)
Venue:  Black Tie Restaurant, Warragul
Cost:     $50 WGHG staff
              $60 Non-WGHG staff
Click here to view flyer
Click here to register


Upcoming changes to medical decision making laws

From 12 March 2018, a person can appoint a medical treatment decision maker with authority to make medical treatment decisions. A person will no longer make a medical enduring power of attorney to do this. In March 2018, OPA will have a new edition of Take Control with step-by-step instructions about how to do this.

The new laws will allow for the creation of new legal documents called advance care directives. Advance care directives may include either or both:

  • an instructional directive with legally binding instructions about future treatment the person consents to or refuses
  • a values directive which documents the person’s values and preferences for future medical treatment.

If a medical treatment decision maker hasn’t been appointed, the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act specifies who has legal authority to make medical treatment decisions for a person who is unable to make these decisions. For example, this may be the person’s domestic partner.

Further updates will be made available in this newsletter, when it is available

Click here for further information and to access the OPA advise service


Death and dying will affect all of us. CareSearch provides trustworthy information about palliative care for patients, carers and families as well as for the health professionals providing their care. Just as trustworthy information can help patients and families understand what is happening and make decisions, research evidence helps clinicians provide the best possible care.

CareSearch has developed printable fact sheets for health professionals and consumers / patients, carers, families and friends.  Factsheets for Health Professionals cover topics such as:

  • Why evidence matters in palliative care
  • ​Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander care
  • How nurses can find and use palliative care information
  • Education
  • My Learning
  • Looking after patients in the palliative phase? Why CareSearch should become essential to your practice
  • Information to help GPs 
Click here to visit the CareSearch website
Click here to view the factsheets
In the News / Research

No, most people aren’t in severe pain when they die
Article by Kathy Eagar, Sabina Clapham and Samuel Allingham for the Conversation

Many people fear death partly because of the perception they might suffer increasing pain and other awful symptoms the nearer it gets. There’s often the belief palliative care may not alleviate such pain, leaving many people to die excruciating deaths.

But an excruciating death is extremely rare. The evidence about palliative care is that pain and other symptoms, such as fatigue, insomnia and breathing issues, actually improve as people move closer to death. More than 85% of palliative care patients have no severe symptoms by the time they die.

Evidence from the Australian Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC) shows that there has been a statistically significant improvement over the last decade in pain and other end-of-life symptoms. Several factors linked to more effective palliative care are responsible. [read more]
Calvary launches the new Palliative and
End of life Care Research Institute

A new palliative and end of life care research institute launched on 30th November by Little Company of Mary Health Care will profile the important research being undertaken in the field of Palliative and End of Life Care at four leading specialist palliative care services across Calvary. 

In launching the Institute Professor Lobb highlights a growing body of research conducted through the Calvary network of palliative care services on managing symptoms such as pain, nausea, breathing and delirium. There is also psychosocial research to investigate the experiences of patients, their families and friends during death and afterwards through their experience of grief. “Much of this innovative and ground breaking research has been initiated by palliative care clinicians here in Australia, and is changing palliative care practice around the world” Professor Lobb said. [read more]
It’s not all about death: conversations with patients in palliative care         
Article by  Matthew Grant for the conversation

When I introduce myself to a patient as a palliative care doctor, the question that often follows is: “Am I dying?”

I guess in one sense we’re all dying. In this case, though, the question implies an immediacy. Yet working in palliative care involves surprisingly little immediate dying.

Yes we work with people who have incurable illnesses, but their prognoses vary between weeks, months and even years. And we see other patients potentially being cured but who experience significant side effects from treatment.

Our team works in clinics, in the hospital, out in the community, at the chemotherapy centre, and in our palliative care or hospice units.

Here is a snapshot of the conversations I have in a working day, and they involve discussions of life far more than they do death. [read more] 
LGBTQ at the End-of-Life: Needs and Challenges 
Article by Vivian Lam for Pallimed

Holistic care is essential in the mission to fully meet a patient's needs. And a holistic perspective is the backbone of end of life and palliative care--it's the basis of having an interprofessional team that acknowledges that quality of life is multifaceted, and lives are diverse. But getting to know a patient enough to be able to be "holistic" can be difficult. And in the case of LGBTQ individuals, getting to know the patient as a whole is not only all the more important—it’s integral. [read more]
What makes life worth living in the face of death
Lucy Kalanithi TEDMED Talk

Stanford internist Lucy Kalanithi is the widow of neurosurgeon and writer Paul Kalanithi, who was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer at age 36. In Lucy's 2016 TEDMED Talk, she shares the perspective their family gained during Paul's difficult transition from doctor to patient.
Click here to view video
Newsletters / Communique

Mailing Address:

Gippsland Region Palliative Care Consortium
c/- West Gippsland Healthcare Group
Landsborough Road
Warragul  Vic  3820
t:   03 5623 0684

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Gippsland Region Palliative Care Consortium · c/- West Gippsland Healthcare Group · 41 Landsborough Road · Warragul, Vic 3820 · Australia

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