Improving palliative care in nursing homes.

This article was updated on March 11, 2023. It discusses death and palliative care in nursing homes.

If you haven’t caught this TedX on disrupting death take a peak before reading on.

We’re still hearing uncomfortable stories from readers about the deaths of their elderly in nursing homes. Sometimes only a little thing went wrong, making the family sad for the dying person, and undoing other good intentions. Other times it was a bigger problem.

So today we’re shining the spotlight on Kathleen Wurth’s recent piece on the Caresearch blog.

Kathleen Wurth blogged at Caresearch recently.
Kathleen Wurth blogged at Caresearch recently.

It’s great to read encouraging news about the enthusiasm of aged care facility staff to improve the end-of-life experience in their homes.

Great professionalism has been building in palliative care in Australian hospitals. Increasingly, experts can be found when needed and quickly. But it’s time to take this skill and professionalism into Australian nursing homes, where a large number of everyday Australians die.

“You only die once – we need to get it right: a palliative care clinical nurse consultant’s perspective on partnering with a residential aged care facility,” is Kathleen’s article, published on February 22, on the Caresearch guest blog page.

Kathleen talks about developing a partnership between palliative care and multicultural aged care (MACI) in the Illawarra region, NSW.  When she refers to SPCS this is the ‘specialist palliative care service’ that she works with.

ELDAC is ‘End of Life Direction for Aged Care’ and it’s an initiative funded by the Federal Government.

“Despite the challenges and obstacles (including competing priorities and workload), MACI’s management was completely supportive of creating a partnership with our SPCS,” Kathleen says.

Great to hear. Too often we hear of situations where aged care and local palliative care undermine, compete with or dismiss each other.

“After the investment with ELDAC and MACI, there was increased awareness around recognising dying, having critical conversations, advance care planning, and responding to symptoms,” Kathleen writes.

“The care staff at MACI were up for the challenge – they became leaders, teachers, and mentors to each other and demonstrated compassionate advocacy for their residents.

“They built confident interpersonal skills and included the family in their discussions, often supporting families during the resident’s deterioration and terminal phase. Staff told me it was really rewarding to be able to see their residents through this last stage of life, as they were able to provide a respectful end of life experience that was aligned to the wishes of the resident…”

Great stuff. So many aged care staff want to do the right thing and want the training and resources to provide palliative care in nursing homes.

And thank you to Linda Espie, author and palliative care counsellor, for alerting Good Grief! to this article through your LinkedIn feed.

To read Kathleen’s piece, go to:

For a nice little definition of palliative care, go to:

And I’m thinking of this family again today, as they bury their beloved family matriach, Helen.

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