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Advance care planning service launched

The hopes of elderly Australians to determine how they are treated and how they will spend their final days have been given a boost with the launch of an advisory service for GPs and aged care workers.

The service, Decision Assist, has been developed with Federal Government funding and aims to assist those caring for older Australians, including doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals, by providing them with additional knowledge and skills about advanced care planning and palliative care.

Decision Assist Chair Associate Professor Bill Silvester said that Decision Assist service aimeds to help meet the wishes of older people to avoid hospital where possible, and help them stay in their community.

The service includes:

·         a national hotline to assist GPs and aged care workers with information about palliative care and advice on advance care planning advice (the hotline, 1300 668 908, will operate between 8am to 8pm seven days a week);

·         specialised training and workshops for GPs and aged care staff to enhance their knowledge and skills about advance care planning and palliative care;

·         online resources and mobile applications to enable quick and convenient access to up-to-date end of life care information, as well as links to promote the co-ordination of care among service providers; and

·         a dedicated website (www.decisionassist.org.au) containing detailed information on advance care planning and palliative care.

Kirsty Waterford