The experience of Australian aged care workers during a trial implementation of a palliative care outcomes programme

Publication Name

International Journal of Health Planning and Management


End of life care is an essential part of the role of Australian aged care homes (ACHs). However, there is no national framework to support aged care staff in systematically identifying residents with palliative care needs or to routinely assess, respond to, and measure end of life needs. The Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC) is a national outcomes and benchmarking programme which aims to systematically improve palliative care for people who are approaching the end of life, and for their families and carers. The PCOC Wicking Model for Residential Aged Care was developed and piloted in four Australian ACHs. This paper reports on the qualitative findings from semi-structured interviews and focus groups conducted with ACH staff (N = 37) to examine feasibility. Thematic analysis identified three overarching themes about the pilot: (i) processes to successfully prepare and support ACHs; (ii) appropriateness of PCOC tools for the ACH setting; and (iii) realised and potential benefits of the model for ACHs. The lessons presented valuable insights to refine the PCOC Wicking Model and enrich understanding of the potential challenges and solutions for implementing similar programs within ACHs in future. The results suggest that key to successfully preparing ACHs for implementation of the PCOC Wicking Model is an authentic and well-paced collaborative approach with ACHs to ensure the resources, structures and systems are in place and appropriate for the setting. The PCOC Wicking Model for Residential Aged Care is a promising prototype to support ACHs in improving palliative and end of life care outcomes for residents and their carers.

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