Organisational readiness key to improving end-of-life care in hospitals


Hospitals provide end-of-life care to many people every year, with many deaths in Australia taking place in one.

With the number of Australians who die each year projected to double by 2040, the need for safe and quality end-of-life care in hospitals is an ongoing concern.

A recent study conducted by the Flinders Research Centre for Palliative Care, Death, and Dying sought to identify the best practices and organisational requirements for delivering excellent end-of-life care in hospitals, as well as measures to support patients and families during a pandemic.

Deb Rawlings, College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Deb Rawlings, College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Led by Senior Lecturer Deb Rawlings, the study was commissioned by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care in order to inform an update to the National Consensus Statement for safe and quality end-of-life care.

Using a rapid review of literature, the study found that organisational readiness is a main driver for good quality end-of-life care.

“Hospitals and acute care settings need to recognise the importance of end-of-life care. This is a significant first step in enabling improvements in the quality of care that is delivered to patients and families,” she says.

The study showed that having spaces that allow privacy and facilitate culturally responsive care, as well as supporting and training the workforce to deliver quality end of life care, are critical. In addition, person-centred care, and family involvement, bereavement support, and technological innovation particularly during pandemic were also identified as key drivers.

“Our study lays out several implications for policy and end-of-life care practices related to the care of those who die in hospital. To enable comprehensive responses across the workforce and the care environment, end-of-life care will need to be provided through a whole-of-organisation approach. Organisational policy, procedures, and culture influence clinical behaviour and the capability and willingness of health professionals to provide comprehensive care,” Ms Rawlings says.

Read the full report here: Rapid review of the literature: End-of-life care

This article was originally published by Flinders Newsdesk on July 8, 2021.

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End of life care Palliative Care Research Research conduct

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