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EOL Essentials Project News


Welcome to the June edition of End-of-Life Essentials news. This newsletter aims to keep you informed with what’s happening in the project and end-of-life care. 

What’s New in the Project?

• Sector News

• Latest Evidence

• For Your Notice Board

• Next Newsletter

What's New in the Project?

Finalising the e-learning modules

Our first three modules are currently being peer reviewed by Australian doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.

Launch of the e-learning modules

The new website has been released. The first three e-learning modules will be launched and will be freely accessible on the 24th June.

We will continue to add content to the Implementation Toolkit pages prior to the release of the Toolkit in October 2016.

Sector News

Transitions from hospital to primary care

Transitions from hospital to primary care, written by The Primary Health Care Research and Information Service (PHCRIS) researchers, describes efforts to reduce the risks associated with transitions for older adults with complex health care needs. The research highlights four key areas: reforms to the financing and organisation of health care; implementation of new models of care; information and communication technology (ICT); and relational support.

Death Over Dinner

Death Over Dinner is dedicated to helping people talk about their end of life care wishes and sparking cultural change at the kitchen table – not in the intensive care unit, when it's simply too late. It is an interactive website and cultural movement dedicated to giving people the permission and the tools to discuss their choices on end of life and End of Life Care with their friends and loved ones. Death Over Dinner works to bring people to the dinner table to create social change with the idea that dinners result in action, create deep engagement and profound relationships with participants.

Latest Evidence

Each month we will feature a few articles that cover topics relevant to end-of-life care in hospitals:

  • McIlvennan CK, Allen LA. Palliative care in patients with heart failure. BMJ. Apr 14;353:i1010.
    Heart failure is a syndrome of cardiac dysfunction characterized by dyspnea, fatigue, and fluid retention.  Once patients develop chronic symptomatic heart failure, the disease often dominates their overall health and medical care. This review will summarize the current literature on the emerging role of palliative care in patients with heart failure and the challenges and opportunities for its integration into routine care. It will discuss current initiatives and future directions of the collaborative relationship between the palliative care and heart failure disciplines.
  • Wright AA, Keating NL, Ayanian JZ, Chrischilles EA, Kahn KL, Ritchie CS, et al. Family perspectives on aggressive cancer care near the end of life. JAMA. 2016 Jan 19;315(3):284-92. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.18604.
    This study looked at the association of aggressive end-of-life care with bereaved family members’ perceptions of the quality of end-of-life care and patients’ goal attainment.  Among family members of older patients who died of lung or colorectal cancer, earlier hospice enrollment, avoidance of ICU admissions within 30 days of death, and death occurring outside the hospital were associated with perceptions of better end-of-life care. These findings are supportive of advance care planning consistent with the preferences of patients.
  • Cook D, Swinton M, Toledo F, Clarke F, Rose T, Hand-Breckenridge T, et al. Personalizing death in the intensive care unit: the 3 Wishes Project: a mixed-methods study. Ann Intern Med. 2015 Aug 18;163(4):271-9. doi:10.7326/M15-0502.
    Dying in the complex, efficiency-driven environment of the intensive care unit can be dehumanizing for the patient and have profound, long-lasting consequences for all persons attendant to that death.  The researchers developed the 3 Wishes Project to try to bring peace to the final days of critically ill patients and to ease the grieving process. By eliciting and implementing a set of wishes identified by patients, families, clinicians, or the project team, the objectives included the following: for patients, to dignify their deaths and celebrate their lives; for family members, to humanize the dying experience and create positive memories; and for clinicians, to foster patient- and family-centered care and inspire a deeper sense of vocation.
  • Walczak A, Butow PN, Bu S, Clayton JM. A systematic review of evidence for end-of-life communication interventions: Who do they target, how are they structured and do they work? Patient Educ Couns. 2016 Jan;99(1):3-16. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2015.08.017. Epub 2015 Aug 17.
    This systematic review explored the evidence behind end-of-life communication interventions. Findings include, some evidence supports educating patients about the importance of end-of-life communication and formal advance care planning. Caregivers appear to benefit from family meetings and opportunities to communicate concerns to health professionals via the web. Clinicians appear to benefit from communication skills training, particularly targeting bad news consultations. Question prompt lists appear to generate useful discussion during consultations, can be readily accessed and could be adopted in individual practice. 

For Your Notice Board

Each month we will feature a fact sheet, a poster or other resource that you can print and share on you notice board or in your tea room.

This month we highlight the End-of-Life Essentials: About the Modules (252kb pdf) factsheet which outlines the 6 modules being developed. The first 3 being released on June 24.

Next Newsletter

July 2016

The End-of-Life Essentials News is distributed on the first Wednesday of each month. You are also welcome to forward the newsletter to others who may be interested or follow this link to subscribe to the newsletter. To share something, please email


End-of-Life Essentials is based on the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care’s National Consensus Statement: Essential elements for safe and high-quality end-of-life care, and the Commission provides ongoing advice to the project.

End-of-Life Essentials is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health

Copyright © 2016 CareSearch, palliative care knowledge network project, All rights reserved.

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