GRPCC eNews No35- October 2018
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Life and Death Matters 

The GRPCC eNews Life & Death Matters is circulated bi-monthly to provide you with current information about the of the GRPCC and its members, including 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 ton he subscribe button below
Welcome to this enewsletter-
    • GRPCC - A month in review
    • GRPCC Specialist Palliative Care Services Quickguide Gippsland
    • GRPCC Annual Report 2017-18
  • Education and events
    • The Time of Dying
    • National Carers Week
    • Oceanic Palliative Care Conference
  • Resources and information 
    • End-of-Life Podcasts
    • New ELDAC Helpline (1800 870 155) and Free Resources
    • About pain and the help available
    • Centre for Palliative Care  - Hot Topics
  • In the news/ research
    • 12 Things Harry Potter Taught Me About Grief 
    •  Death is difficult in any language
    • STOP! Patients receiving CPR despite valid DNACPR documentation
    • The language of living and dying

A month in review  

In August and September, the GRPCC hosted three PEPA workshops for health professionals working in the sub-acute environment, in Bass Coast, Traralgon and Bairnsdale.  These workshops were extremely well received with approximately 70 people attending across the three workshops.  A PEPA workshop was also held in Sale for health professionals and personal care workers, working in aged care, which saw 21 attendees improve their knowledge, skills, and confidence in a palliative approach to care for people with a life-limiting illness.  At this stage there are no plans for further PEPA workshops facilitated by the GRPCC in Gippsland in 2018/19.

New work has commence on the 'Statewide (regional consortia) Pathways to Palliative Care in Rural Victoria' project, with the purpose to audit pathways to specialist palliative care and consultancy services in Gippsland. This will more articulate what is working well, as well as enabling a summary of challenges and barriers for consumers of palliative care services (including respite) in rural and regional Victoria.  Anny has been working very closely with the other Consortia Managers across Victoria in the initial stages of this project and we are very excited to welcome a new project worker who will commence with the GRPCC in October.

Further work has commenced with the Community Palliative Care Skills Matrix.  The survey is now closed to WGHG staff, which was the pilot site. Participants will shortly receive their individualised results.   Participants will also received access to a booklet containing all available learning opportunities linked to their survey results, and a template for a professional development plan.  For further details please refer to the Annual Report below.

The GRPCC Consortium Management Group (CMG) meets every second month.  In October, the CMG met to finalise the   GRPCC Strategic Plan 2018-19
The GRPCC also facilitates the GRPCC Clinical Practice Group (CPG). This group also meets bi monthly, and works systematically to ensure that evidence based practice information and guidelines are accessible to health professionals who work with clients receiving palliative care. The CPG guidelines that have been developed by this group have a regular schedule of review. Anny and Carol having been working to ensure that guidelines and resources that are currently available are up contemporary and up to date. Members of the CPG and the Expert Advisory Group are accessed to review these documents before they are endorsed and made available.  

GRPCC Specialist Palliative Care Service – Quickguide Update 

The GRPCC Specialist Palliative Care Service Quickguide has been updated. Unfortunately the link in the previous eNews was incorrect, I would like to apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.  

Please print and replace any existing versions with this current copy. GRPCC Specialist Palliative Care Services Quickguide Gippsland August 2018
Click here to download the GRPCC Specialist Palliative Care Services Quickguide

GRPCC Annual Report 2017/18
The GRPCC Annual Report 2017-18 is now available to download from the GRPCC website.  The Annual Report was provided to the Victorian Department of Health in September and details the work and key achievements of the GRPCC in 2017-18.
Click here to download the GRPCC Annual Report 2017-18
Education and Events

The Time of Dying

End of life care issues regarding anticipatory prescribing can be challenging for GPs, particularly with palliative care patients with complex needs.

The GRPCC, GPHN will be hosting four evening forums presented by Dr. Melanie Bensen, palliative care physician based with the Gippsland Regional Palliative Care Consultancy Service entitled “The Time of Dying” focusing on diagnosing dying, the prescribing and  role of anticipatory medications/measures, and  palliative sedation.  The presentation will highlight the recently developed GRPCC CPG guidelines for the use of palliative sedation that provides a framework for the discussion of this important area of end of life care.

Monday 29th October
Bairnsdale Sporting & Convention Centre, 117 Great Alpine Road, Lucknow 
6.00pm  Registration and light meal
6.30pm  - 9.00pm Presentation

Click here to register for the Bairnsdale session

Warragul                                                       LIMITED SPACES AVAILABLE
Monday 12th November
Seminar Room, West Gippsland Healthcare Group, Landsborough Street, Warragul
6.00pm  Registration and light meal
6.30pm  - 9.00pm Presentation

Click here to register for the Warragul session

Inverloch                                                                                    SOLD OUT
Monday 19th November
Captains Lounge, The Esplanade Hotel, 1 A'Beckett Street, Inverloch
6.00pm  Registration and light meal
6.30pm  - 9.00pm Presentation

Click here to register for the Inverloch session

Monday 26th November
Chess Room, Gippsland PHN, 11-13 Seymour Street, Traralgon
6.00pm  Registration and light meal
6.30pm  - 9.00pm Presentation

Click here to register for the Traralgon session
Click here to view the The Time of Dying flyer

National Carers Week

National Carers Week is about recognising and celebrating the outstanding contribution Australia’s 2.7 million unpaid carers make to our nation.

Anyone, at any time can, become a carer and National Carers Week is an opportunity to raise community awareness among all Australians about the diversity of carers and their caring roles. Carers make an enormous contribution to our communities as well as our national economy.

National Carers Week provides you with a chance to show your appreciation and learn about carers and caring in Australia.

National Carers Week 2018 will be celebrated throughout Australia from 14 – 20 October.


Multidisciplinary Palliative Short Course

The Centre for Palliative Care at St Vincent’s Hospital, in partnership with The University
of Melbourne, has developed a range of short courses that focus on preparing all health
professionals for the core aspects of palliative care provision.

The multidisciplinary short courses cover a variety of topics, and health professionals
are welcome to register for one or more of the courses. All our courses are evidence
based and delivered by a broad range of presenters, who are specialists in their field.

  • Palliative Care: the Essentials 7 & 8 February, 2019
  • Historical, Theoretical and Developmental Perspectives on Bereavement 21 & 22 February, 2019
  • Pain Assessment and Management in Palliative Care 18 July, 2019
  • Symptom Management in Adult Palliative Care 19 July 2019
  • Clinical Ethics - the Basics 8 August, 2019
  • "Doing" Ethics 9 August, 2019
  • Communicating Ethically 12 August, 2019
  • Incorporating Ethics into your daily Practice 13 August, 2019
  • Identification, Assessment and Management of Distress 15 & 16 August , 2019
  • Management of Imminent Death in Complex Cases 19 August, 2019
  • Special and At Risk Populations. Working with Other Professionals 20 August, 2019
Cost One day course 450 + GST
         Two day course $900 + GST
Click here to visit the Melbourne Uni website for more details and to register

Specialist and Graduate Certificates in Palliative Care 2019

These courses aim to be the industry standard for working in specialist palliative care and is delivered by experts in their fields, drawn from multiple institutions around Victoria. They  explore the core concepts related to palliative care, including symptom management, communication skills, and evidence based practice, non-malignant palliative illnesses, psychosocial issues and the role of the family caregiver.

Cost    Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care $6,020
            Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care $12,040

Click here to visit the Melbourne Univ website for more details and to register

Oceanic Palliative Care Conference

In September 2019 the palliative care sector will gather in the beautiful location of Perth, Australia for the 2019 Oceanic Palliative Care Conference #19OPCC, formerly the Australian Palliative Care Conference.

Proudly hosted by Palliative Care Australia, the Conference will attract the decision makers of today, the future leaders of tomorrow, policy influencers and those involved in the latest research and thinking about palliative care and end of life care on a national and international scale.

The 2019 conference will be held at Perth Convention Centre from 10–13 September 2019.

Click here visit the conference website and for registration details


End-of-Life Podcasts

Living while dying: an ALS story (31 episodes) Bruce Kramer shares his experience of living & dying with ALS

What would you do if you were going to die soon (49:06) Radio interview with Dr Ira Byrock

Living a good life – to the very end  (18:03) Exploring what exactly living a good life to the end entails.

Being Mortal: medicine and what matters at end of life (51:36) Interview with Atul Gawande covers a broad spectrum of the subject of end of life.

New ELDAC Helpline

The ELDAC helpline (1800 870 155) is a free service funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. It is available to all health professionals, from facilities and providers including residential aged care, community aged care, specialist palliative care, acute care organisations, and primary health networks caring for older Australians with a palliative need including:

  • GPs;
  • Nurses (RNs, ENs in all care settings);
  • Care workers;
  • Allied health practitioners; and
  • Pharmacists
Click here visit the ELDAC website

About pain and the help available

PCV has published this new soft copy consumer resource about pain in consultation with clinicians and consumers. 

This leaflet answers frequently asked questions relating to pain and pain management.  It also explains how your doctor and palliative care team can help you manage your pain and improve your quality of life.

Click here download the 'About Pain and the help available' brochure

Centre for Palliative Care  - Hot Topics

The Centre for Palliative Care 'Hot Topics' seminars are now available to view on the Centre for Palliative Care youtube channel, along with a wide range of palliative care videos. Topics include:

  • How can you be compassionate, when it feels like you have a gun to your head?
  • New Directives, New Obligations: The Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016  
  • The First and Last 1000 Days – A Lifetime Approach to Health and Wellbeing.
Click here visit the Centre for Palliative Care YouTube Channel
In the News / Research

12 Things Harry Potter Taught Me About Grief  
Blog published at

Death is a pretty significant theme throughout the series and there are lots of different messages about death and grief. JK Rowling, the book’s author, lost her mother shortly after starting the books, so it is no surprise she weaves grief heavily into Harry’s story.

I was 16 when Rowling published the first Harry Potter book in the US, not long before my dad died. Though I may have been a bit older than the target demographic, I read the first book the year after he died and was immediately hooked, in no small part because of the grief themes. All these years later, as a 30-something adult, these themes still stick with me.  So, here they are- the 12 things Harry Potter taught me about grief: [read more]
'Death is difficult in any language': A qualitative study of palliative care professionals' experiences when providing end-of-life care to patients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Article published by Green A, Jerzmanowska N, Green M, Lobb EA in Palliat Med. 2018 Sep

Ethnic minority patients have unique challenges in accessing health services. These include language difficulties, unfamiliarity with the health system, lower rates of cancer screening and survival, higher rates of reported side effects from cancer treatment and poorer quality of life. Little is known about this patient group when transitioning to palliative care.

To elicit the experiences of palliative care health professionals when providing care for patients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds which differ from mainstream Australian language and culture. [read more]
STOP! Patients receiving CPR despite valid DNACPR documentation
Article by Lucy Baxter and Jennifer Hancox for The Blog of the European Association for Palliative Care

What is a good death? A US Institute of Medicine report from 20 years ago states a good death is “Free from avoidable distress and suffering for patient, family and caregivers, in general accord with the patient’s and family’s wishes, and reasonably consistent with clinical, cultural and ethical standards.”  More recently, a literature review identified 11 core themes of a good death; the first of which was ‘preferences for a specific dying process.’

In all of our own practices, and for many of us in our personal lives, we have seen examples of both excellent and poor end-of-life care. Nearly all guidance on the topic emphasises the importance of considering the patient’s wishes. [read more]
The language of living and dying
By Professor Jennifer Philip, University of Melbourne

When it comes to caring for people with cancer, how clinicians talk about palliative care can make a huge difference to patients and their families
As a society, we are not very sophisticated when we talk about serious illness and death. We talk of fighting, of battling against, of staying positive and of not giving up.

Of course, this has implications for those whose illness continues or worsens. Are they losing the fight? And what does it mean about their attitude? Have they given in?

In our research, recently published in Palliative Medicine, we found the power of language is particularly poignant when it comes to how clinicians talk about end of life care. It can lead to misunderstandings, but also sadly, even tragically, to suffering and missed opportunities. [read more]

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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