Palliative Care in Aged Care

From the Palliative Care series

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This Video Learning Activity (VLA) identifies that with the expansion of palliative care in the community, there is a potential gap in the workforce of clinicians and carers that can provide competent quality palliative care services. Primary healthcare providers need to know how to provide advance care planning to people both in the community and within residential aged care facilities.

Topics include:

  • Advance care planning
  • Advance Care Directives (ACDs)
  • When and how to start the conversation
  • The palliative approach
  • Recognising the dying process
  • Using an end of life care plan

Target audience:

This VLA is designed for all staff working in the aged care sector, both in the community and in residential aged care facilities. It is suitable as an introduction to the topic for nurses and to ensure that personal care staff have an awareness of its importance.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply the concept of advance care planning (ACP) to clinical situations so as to effectively recognise when it is appropriate to commence an ACP conversations
  2. Implement a palliative approach to care in order to improve the quality of life of care recipients
  3. Identify when a care recipient is in the final stages of life in order to ensure the person receives a peaceful and dignified death


The purpose of this VLA is to enable important conversations about advance care planning and palliative care to take place between care recipients, family members and health professionals, in order to enhance provision of quality palliative care and the palliative approach.


The Australian Government Aged Care Reforms provide support for older Australians to stay in their own homes for as long as possible by utilising home care packages. This is an important opportunity for staff providing home care to begin a conversation around advance care planning while the care recipient is able to make decisions for themselves. If people do require care in a residential aged care facility (RACF), they will be entering at a later stage in their life, be more unwell, often with advanced dementia, and they will benefit from a palliative approach to their care. It is imperative that aged care staff see palliative care as a core skill to ensure residents experience a peaceful and dignified death. All patients with a life-limiting illness, their families and carers will require support and care from health professionals who understand and are skilled in the palliative approach to care.2 Improvements in palliative care will become more challenging as the population ages and the palliative care workforce ages with it. There will not be enough specialist palliative care services to meet the need, and it is essential that primary care is primed to take an increasing share of the palliative care burden.1

Nurses in Australia are required to obtain a minimum of 20 continuing professional development (CPD) hours each year that relates to their context of practice in order to comply with mandatory regulatory requirements.


Citing this Video Learning Activity

  1. Using Harvard referencing style:

    Conte, K 2017, 'Palliative Care in Aged Care', Ausmed Education, viewed (insert date),

  2. Using American Psychological Association (APA) 6th Edition referencing style:

  3. Conte, K. (2017). Palliative Care in Aged Care [Video]. Retrieved from