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WA aged care staff learn to talk about dying

Author: Anna Manzoney
03 August 2015
  • Decision Assist workshops give aged care staff added skills to talk about dying with patients, their families and carers.

The education of residential aged care and community care staff in palliative care and advance care planning is crucial and necessary with Australia’s ageing population, according to Decision Assist program chair, Associate Professor Bill Silvester.

“Older people are staying at home longer and entering residential aged care facilities later in their life. They are frailer when they enter and are staying there for a shorter period of time,” A/Professor Silvester said.

“Australia’s population is ageing and the demand for well-trained aged and community care staff will also increase.

“Communities can only benefit from having aged care staff trained and confident in being able to talk about dying,” A/Professor Silvester said.

Registrations are now open for residential and community aged care staff in Western Australia for free training in palliative care and advance care planning through Decision Assist workshops.

Home Care workshops begin in Balcatta on 5 August and in Bunbury on 16 September, and residential care workshops in Shenton Park on 12 August and in Bunbury on 17 September.

“Generally, staff do not feel confident in having discussions about end of life care and advance care planning, but research shows that these skills can be learnt,” A/Professor Silvester said.

“As well as reporting an increase in knowledge, many participants said the workshops left them feeling empowered and confident at being able to use the word ‘dying’ in their discussions.  The workshops assist staff in how to deal with families who may have differing opinions regarding treatment options for aged care recipients.”

Since September 2014 more than 1370 participants have attended over 110 Decision Assist aged care training workshops throughout Australia.

“These workshops have been well received to the extent that registrations for some have had to close early as the number is capped to ensure the workshops continue to be interactive,” A/Professor Silvester added.

To register for a workshop go to For further information phone (03) 9088 1252 or email.

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