30 January 2023

NSW Health is inviting Dying with Dignity supporters and other interested individuals to a webinar on Wednesday, 1 February at 5.30pm to talk about how they are preparing for voluntary assisted dying to become available in NSW later this year.

Join NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, and the Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Team to find out what resources will be available to support patients and clinicians.

It will also be an opportunity to ask questions of the implementation team.

Register for the webinar
16 January 2023

You’re invited to come along and hear from SWSPHN’s Priority Populations Program team about the importance of Advance Care Planning (ACP) at venues across the region during NSW Seniors Festival 2023.

We’ll hold talks, host stalls and be available to answer questions at community activities in Campbelltown, Wollondilly and Wingecarribee in February and March.

 

What is Advance Care Planning?

Advance Care Planning is the process of an individual planning the healthcare they would or would not like to receive if they are injured or become seriously ill and are unable to communicate their preferences.

It helps the individuals’ loved ones and doctors know what care they would prefer to receive.


Where will you find us?

Friday, 2 February – Moss Vale

Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies at the Civic Centre Theatrette, 68 Elizabeth Street, Moss Vale, 10am to 12pm. Our team will be holding a talk about ACP and handing out information.

Reserve a spot

 

Tuesday, 7 February – Campbelltown

Let’s Talk Legal program: Wills for Seniors at HJ Daley Library, 1 Hurley Street, Campbelltown, 10.30am to 12.30pm. Our team will be hosting a stall.

Reserve a spot

 

Wednesday, 8 February – Moss Vale

Planning for the rest of your life at the Civic Centre Theatrette, 68 Elizabeth Street, Moss Vale, 9.30am to 4pm. Our team will be hosting a stall.

Reserve a spot

 

Friday, 10 February – Narellan

IC Care musical and services expo at Narellan Community Health Centre, 14 Queen Street, Narellan, 10.30am to 1.30pm. Our team will be hosting a stall.

Reserve a spot

 

Thursday, 9 March – Picton

Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds at Wollondilly Shire Hall, 62-64 Menangle Street, Picton, 10am to 12pm. Our team will be holding a talk about ACP and hosting a stall.

Reserve a spot
06 December 2022

South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) has developed the Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Consultant (CNC) role for Residential Aged Care Homes (RACH) to increase specialist palliative care consultation and improve palliative care outcomes for residents with complex needs.

Highly experienced CNC Rachael Williams:

  • Directly supports RACHs by servicing SWSLHD community referrals for RACH residents received by the Triple I Hub
  • Supports capacity building of RACH workforce by providing:
  1. Advance care planning promotion and education
  2. Promoting implementation of ELDAC toolkits and resources
  3. Collaborating with SWSPHN to increase palliative care support for RACH GPs

More than 160 residents have been supported since the position was established in mid-January 2022, receiving a palliative care comprehensive assessment, an individualised plan, a review of their advance care planning, a follow up call or visit and referral to the community palliative care medical team if required to meet their needs.

Rachael also has discussions with RACH clinical staff, residents and/or their families providing suggestions which are forwarded to the RACH care team and uploaded to the resident’s files.

  • GPs working in RACHs with residents they want to refer or discuss, can send referrals via Triple I, or an email to the District Palliative Care Secretary Patricia Rebello at Rebello@health.nsw.gov.au
  • Questions regarding the Palliative Care CNC for RACHs can be directed to Rachael Williams at Williams@health.nsw.gov.au

 


 

This article appeared in Practice Pulse on Wednesday, 7 December 2022. If you are a GP, practice nurse or practice manager in South Western Sydney and do not get the weekly Practice Pulse email, speak to your Practice Support Officer.

30 November 2022

Preparations are underway for Voluntary Assisted Dying to become available in NSW next year.

An eligible person may ask a health professional for medical help to end their life under the Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) Act, which comes into effect from 28 November 2023.

Another person is unable to pressure someone to ask for VAD. Only the person who wants to access VAD may ask for it. Decision-making capacity is required to make a VAD request, therefore it can’t be included in an Advance Care Plan or Directive.

Now is the time to consider your own position on VAD and how you will respond if the question is asked.

The Act states that people in NSW will only be able to receive access to voluntary assisted dying if they meet all the following criteria:

  1. They must be an adult (18 years and older), who is an Australian citizen, a permanent resident of Australia or have been a resident in Australia for at least three continuous years.
  2. They must have been living in NSW for at least 12 months.
  3. They must have at least one disease, illness or medical condition which is advanced, progressive and:VAD Flowchart:
  • will, on the balance of probabilities, cause their death within six months (or within 12 months for neurodegenerative diseases like motor neurone disease), and
  • is causing the person suffering which cannot be relieved in a way the person considers tolerable.
  1. They must have decision-making capacity in relation to VAD and be acting voluntarily.
  2. They must have the ability to make and communicate requests and decisions about voluntary assisted dying throughout the formal request process.

What do I need to do?

A medical professional who has undertaken specific training and met eligibility requirements may choose to undertake the following roles:

  • Voluntary Assisted Dying coordinator practitioner
  • Consulting practitioner
  • Administering practitioner

A nurse practitioner may also undertake the role of the administering practitioner if they are eligible.

A medical professional who has a conscientious objection to VAD may refuse to participate in the process.

What will NSW Health do?

Over the next few months, NSW health will create:

  • An education and training program for medical professionals who choose to support VAD
  • A care navigator service to provide support, advice and information to both community members and medical professionals
  • Pharmaceutical protocols and procedures to ensure appropriate administration of approved substances
  • A framework for VAD across public health, private facilities and community general practices
  • A VAD Board and secretariat

Find more information:

16 November 2022

South Western Sydney is expected to have the highest increase in dementia cases in all of NSW by 2050. Dementia is a brain illness which can affect mobility, vision, and cognition.

It is NOT a normal part of ageing.

The South Western Sydney Dementia Network is hosting  a free, online dementia information session on Thursday, 1 December from 10am to 12pm, honouring International Day of People with Disabilities.

Download this flyer to learn more/register for the session

16 November 2022

If you’d like to join a local network dedicated to supporting people with dementia and their families, please express your interest in joining the South Western Sydney Dementia Network.

SWSPHN is part of the network which includes Western Sydney University, local councils, and health services including South Western Sydney Local Health District, Dementia Australia and Macarthur Disability Services.

The network supports people with dementia and their families by teaching, training and facilitating social programs in the community.

If you’d like to know more about what the role requires or to apply, download this Expression of Interest form.

21 September 2022

If you’d like to find out more about advance care planning, visit SWSPHN’s stall at the Camden Café Connect Carers Pamper Day at Camden Civic Centre (Google Maps) on Wednesday, 19 October, from 11am to 2pm – Book here

The pamper day will include massage, relaxation techniques and demonstrations, pamper product workshops and more, is part of the National Carers Week celebrations, 16 to 22 October.

National Carers Week is an opportunity to recognise, celebrate, and raise awareness among all Australians about the diversity of Australia’s 2.65 million carers and their caring roles.

About Carers

Carers are people who provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental health condition, chronic condition, terminal illness, an alcohol or other drug issue or who are frail aged – anyone, of any age, at any time can become a carer.

Carers Week, 16 to 22 October

National Carers Week is an opportunity to raise community awareness among all Australians about the diversity of carers and their caring roles.

Where can carers get support?

Carer Gateway provides information and advice on the supports available to carers across Australia, and has a great range of online resources to help promote carer wellbeing.

South Western Sydney Carer Support Groups 

Carers Australia

Carers Australia | The voice for carers across Australia

Carers NSW Australia

Homepage | Carers NSW

Young Carers Network (young carers are people up to the age of 25)

Home | Young Carers Network

SWSPHN will also hold stalls on:

  • Friday, 30 September at Picton Bowling Club, 10am to 12pm. Topic: Memory Information Session
  • Wednesday, 26 October at Oran Park Library, 10.30am to 1pm. Topic: Grandparents Day – Book here
  • Tuesday, 15 November at Wollondilly Shire Hall, 10am to 12pm. Topic: Legal Issues for Older People with Macarthur Legal Centre
17 August 2022

Dementia impacts almost half a million Australians and close to 1.6 million Australians are involved in their care. The number of people living with dementia is set to double in the next 25 years.

With so many people impacted now and into the future, it is important to clear up some of the misconceptions about dementia.

People living with dementia can live active and fulfilling lives many years after diagnosis.

Despite this, they often experience discrimination.

Dementia Action Week is 19 to 25 September and this year’s theme ‘A little support makes a big difference’ demonstrates how many people living with dementia can continue to live well for many years after their diagnosis.

The campaign provides information and tips to encourage all Australians to increase their understanding of dementia and learn how they can make a difference to the lives of people around them who are impacted – and to help eliminate discrimination.

These include simple and practical tips to:

  • Give a little support to a person living with dementia
  • Give a little support to a carer, friend or family member of a person living with dementia
  • Support someone with dementia to start advance care planning

Find out more about Dementia Action Week

Ten facts about dementia

17 August 2022

Advance care planning is the process of an individual planning the healthcare they would or would not like to receive if they are injured or become seriously ill and are unable to communicate their preferences.

It helps the individuals’ loved ones and doctors know what care they would prefer to receive.

This month, we’re taking a closer look at advance care planning and SWSPHN’s important role in raising awareness and encouraging community and healthcare providers to document these plans.

 

What is advance care planning?

Advance care planning is the process of planning for future healthcare needs. It relates to healthcare an individual would or would not like to receive if they were to become seriously ill or injured and are unable to communicate their preferences or make decisions. This often relates to the care people receive at the end of their life.

Advance care planning gives individuals the opportunity to think about, discuss and record their preferences for the type of care they would receive and the outcomes they would consider acceptable. It helps to ensure loved ones and doctors know what their health and personal preferences are and that these preferences are respected.

Why is it important?

Advance care planning benefits everyone: the individual, their family, carers and health professionals.

  • It helps to ensure individuals receive the care they actually want, it reduces unnecessary transfers to acute care and unwanted treatment
  • It improves ongoing and end-of-life care, along with personal and family satisfaction
  • Families of people who have undertaken advance care planning have less anxiety, depression, stress and are more satisfied with care

Who should have an advance care plan?

Everyone should consider advance care planning, regardless of age or health.

It is particularly important if the individual is:

  • older
  • has a chronic illness
  • has multiple diseases
  • has an early cognitive impairment
  • is approaching the end-of-life

What’s the difference between advance care planning and advance care directives?

An advance care directive is sometimes known as a living will. It’s something an individual creates for themselves and involves documenting their preferences for future care. It can include their values, life goals and preferred outcomes, and directions about care and treatments. An advance care plan is created by someone else on behalf of a person with diminished or no capacity to make decisions for themselves.

To learn more, visit the Advance Care Planning Australia website, or call National Advance Care Planning Support Service on 1300 208 582 for help in creating your plan.

How does SWSPHN raise community awareness about advance care planning?

You only die once workshop

In July we presented an event in collaboration with Wollondilly Council’s Café Connect program and End-of-life Angels. You Only Die Once was an end-of-life planning workshop at Picton. The event gave participants a better understanding of advance planning, where to find information about the subject, and made them feel more comfortable about discussing their end-of-life wishes with family and friends.

SWSPHN also creates awareness of advance care planning by hosting stalls at community events across South Western Sydney such as at the Agency Exchange Day hosted by MDS at Leumeah in June. 

Our team will host further stalls at events in October and November to discuss advance care planning, including at the Dementia Prevention and Wellbeing Expo at Bankstown (27 September);  Carers Pamper Day at Camden (19 October);  Grandparents Day at Oran Park (26 October); and Café Connect at Picton (15 November).

SWSPHN promotes advance care planning through providing information, resources and links on our websites. Information about advance care planning is available for healthcare providers and community on the SWSPHN website.

Information about advance care planning is available on Health Resource Directory in a range of languages. If you’d like more information about advance care planning or our Peace of Mind project, email pomp@swsphn.com.au

09 August 2022

In this month’s Under the Microscope, we’re taking a closer look at advance care planning, SWSPHN’s important role in raising awareness and what you can do to support your patients develop an advance care plan.

What is advance care planning?

Advance care planning is the process of planning for future healthcare needs. It relates to healthcare an individual would or would not like to receive if they were to become seriously ill or injured and are unable to communicate their preferences or make decisions. This often relates to the care people receive at the end of their life.

Advance care planning gives individuals the opportunity to think about, discuss and record their preferences for the type of care they would receive and the outcomes they would consider acceptable. It helps to ensure loved ones and doctors know what their health and personal preferences are and that these preferences are respected.

Why is it important?

Advance care planning benefits everyone: the individual, their family, carers and health professionals.

  • It helps to ensure individuals receive the care they actually want, it reduces unnecessary transfers to acute care and unwanted treatment
  • It improves ongoing and end-of-life care, along with personal and family satisfaction
  • Families of people who have undertaken advance care planning have less anxiety, depression, stress and are more satisfied with care

For healthcare professionals and organisations, it increases confidence they are providing the care preferred by the individual and reduces conflict with families and carers.

Who should have an advance care plan?

Everyone should consider advance care planning, regardless of age or health.

It is particularly important if the individual is:

  • older
  • has a chronic illness
  • has multiple diseases
  • has an early cognitive impairment
  • is approaching the end-of-life

What’s the difference between advance care planning and advance care directives?

An advance care directive is sometimes known as a living will. It’s something an individual creates for themselves and involves documenting their preferences for future care. It can include their values, life goals and preferred outcomes, and directions about care and treatments. An advance care plan is created by someone else on behalf of a person with diminished or no capacity to make decisions for themselves.

To learn more, visit the Advance Care Planning Australia website, or refer your patients to the the National Advance Care Planning Support Service on 1300 208 582 for help creating their plan.

What can you do to support your patients in developing an advance care plan?

GPs and care workers are encouraged to incorporate conversations about advance care planning into routine consultations with their patients, and ensure their patients’ future medical care preferences are uploaded to My Health Record.

The Advance Care Planning Australia website suggests the following triggers and conversation starters.

Online courses, workshops, webinars and support resources are available through Advance Care Planning Australia’s website.

SWSPHN also hosts CPD events relating to advance care planning. Visit our website for information about future events.

The Advance Project  provides practical, evidence-based resources and training to support general practice to initiate advance care planning and palliative care. End-of-life planning (advance care planning) and palliative care are important aspects of care for people living with dementia and their families. The Advance Project has developed new online learning modules and practical resources to make initiating end-of-life conversations and assessing palliative care needs of people living with dementia easier.

How does SWSPHN raise community awareness about advance care planning?

In July we presented an event in collaboration with Wollondilly Council’s Café Connect program and End-of-life Angels. You Only Die Once was an end-of-life planning workshop at Picton. The event gave participants a better understanding of advance planning, where to find information about the subject, and made them feel more comfortable about discussing their end-of-life wishes with family and friends.

SWSPHN also creates awareness of advance care planning by hosting stalls at community events across South Western Sydney such as the Agency Exchange Day hosted by MDS at Leumeah in June. Our team will host further stalls  at events in October and November to discuss advance care planning, including at the Dementia Prevention and Wellbeing Expo at Bankstown (27 September);  Carers Pamper Day at Camden (19 October); Grandparents Day at Oran Park (26 October); and Café Connect at Picton (15 November).

SWSPHN promotes advance care planning through providing information, resources and links on our websites. Information about advance care planning is available for healthcare providers and community on the SWSPHN website.

Information for your  patients  about advance care planning is available on Health Resource Directory  in a range of languages. If you’d like more information about advance care planning or our Peace of Mind project, email pomp@swsphn.com.au