A Riverina nursing lecturer says palliative care should be compulsory in aged care training

A Riverina nursing lecturer says palliative care should be compulsory in aged care training

Concern about a lack of care in some nursing homes has prompted the formation of a new committee in the Riverina to lift standards. An ABC Lateline program recently aired disturbing concerns about the care of relatives of elderly people in nursing homes and aged care facilities.

Charles Sturt University School of Nursing lecturer, Dr Maree Bernoth says there has been little attention to the sector in the current election campaign, after the activity prompted by the Lateline report.

We need the impetus to keep going - to some extent that has died down.

Dr Bernoth says it is disappointing that aged care has not been prioritised this election and a one-off solution will not work.

“Why has this come about on the eve of the election and why isn’t palliative care an integral part of the basic qualification?” she asked.

“These are older people who will die in the aged care facilities. You would assume people working in the aged care system would have the knowledge and skills already, however they don’t. There are huge issues around differentiating between delirium and dementia and recognising pain,” she said.

Dr Bernoth says she supports the Riverina Labor candidate Tim Kurylowicz’s petition calling for a 10 bed palliative care unit or hospice to be built at Wagga Base Hospital. She says a stand-alone unit is the only way to address future needs.

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