Palliative care plans in aged care needed

The AMA today released its new Position Statement on Palliative Approach in Residential Aged Care Facilities.


At present, up to 70 per cent of people die in acute care hospitals, and many are actively treated right up until the moment of their death.


By contrast, a palliative approach to care for residents of aged care facilities, living for extending periods of time with life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s, neurodegenerative and renal diseases, aims to maximise quality of life through appropriate needs-based care.


AMA Vice President, Dr Stephen Parnis, said the new Position Statement outlines the appropriate considerations in taking a palliative approach to the care and management of patients who reside in residential aged care facilities.


“Acute medical care settings prioritise preserving and, where possible, extending life,” Dr Parnis said.


“Transferring residents of residential aged care facilities to acute care settings when their condition deteriorates can often impose unnecessary pain and distress.


“It may also not necessarily respect the needs of patients living with life-limiting illnesses, who prefer to receive palliation within the residential aged care facility.


“The AMA would like to see the introduction of templates for palliative care plans in aged care. Palliative care plans are an excellent way to ensure that everyone involved in the person’s care follows the same agreed approach.”


Dr Parnis said that, according to research by the Grattan Institute, 70 per cent of Australians want to die in their home, which includes in their Aged Care Facility.


The Position Statement is available at


24 March 2015.