Institute of Health and
Biomedical Innovation
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News

25 May 2020

Ten-year-old Emily has a life-limiting heart condition that makes her weak and unable to attend school as often as she would like. At times she requires home oxygen and uses a walker. She lives on a rural cattle property with her parents and two younger brothers.

  • Palliative Care Weeks raises awareness this care needed by people of all ages
  • Series of videos teach optimal care for people with life-limiting illness
  • Palliative care is individualised to support the patient, family and friends
  • It aims to provide the best quality of life from a team of healthcare professionals

“Emily’s” story is one of the scenarios told in video (by actors) by QUT School of Nursing as part of its suite of online palliative and end-of-life care education toolkits, funded by the Australian Department of Health.

This week, May 24-30, is recognised as National Palliative Care Week and a time to raise awareness of Palliative Care – It’s More Than You Think.

QUT Faculty of Health executive dean Distinguished Professor Patsy Yates has conducted extensive research on optimising individualised care of people living with a life-limiting illness and at the end-of-life.

Professor Yates’ and her researchers’ work has informed two online learning sites designed specifically to skill, and upskill health workers, PCC4U (Palliative Care Curriculum for Undergraduates) and PEPA (Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach).

“Palliative care is for people of all ages who have a debilitating and/or life-limiting illness to give them the care and services they need to enjoy their life and to support family and friends throughout the progression of their loved one’s condition,” Professor Yates said.

“The free QUT educational websites are designed for every person working in health settings from clinicians in all disciplines, to administrators and receptionists because they all will, at some time, have contact with people with life-limiting illness and/or nearing the end of their life.

“We have PCC4U with a toolkit of educational modules and videos for university students, registered training organisations, and professional development to help them keep in touch with the latest research and resources to improve their care.

“Emily’s story depicts how the local doctor connects with a team of healthcare professionals including a social worker, paediatric cardiologists and paediatric palliative care nurses in the city who work together to plan the best quality of life for Emily and support for her family via telehealth.

“The PCC4U videos are designed to educate healthcare workers to consider the physical, emotional, social and financial needs of patients and their families to enable them to care for them holistically.”

Professor Yates, who is president of the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care, said dying is a universal human experience and palliative care is a basic human right.

“How we experience dying is shaped by a range of personal and sociocultural influences as well as by availability of social and community support and access to quality healthcare,” she said.

“We know it is a difficult subject to talk about and often patients and families need help to initiate those conversations and that’s part of high-quality palliative care for patients and family.”

The PCC4U and PEPA programs have just been re-funded by the Australian Department of Health under the National Palliative Care Program, as The Palliative Care Education and Training Collaborative, for a total of $12.5 million for the next three years.

QUT Media contact:

Niki Widdowson, 07 3138 2999 or n.widdowson@qut.edu.au

After hours: Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901 or media@qut.edu.au

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