Listen, acknowledge and respond to mental health in palliative care

Improving the care of the mental health of patients nearing the end of their lives is the focus of a new national palliative care research project.

Charles Sturt University (CSU), Amaranth Foundation and integratedliving Australia Ltd will undertake the project with a $3.6 million grant through the federal government’s National Palliative Care Projects scheme.

The funding will support three palliative care projects under the title of Listen, Acknowledge, Respond. The projects aim to improve the care and treatment of terminally ill people who are also experiencing mental illness.

Associate Professor Janelle Wheat from CSU said, “Mental illness in the terminally ill is under diagnosed and undertreated. People don’t report their distress and there is an expectation that dying people will and should experience depression, anxiety and sadness.

“Applying a generic mental health response or intervention to people in palliative care will not deal with their issues.

“Through these projects, we want to address the need to expand the expert knowledge of allied health care workers in this field and ultimately their subsequent care and treatment of people at the end of their lives.”

The three projects will:

  • Develop and deliver Certificate IV and postgraduate courses for allied health care workers to screen, assess and deliver mental health interventions in people with terminal illnesses
  • Identify the skill levels and capabilities of allied health care workers to support the psychological and psychosocial needs of people with terminal illnesses
  • Investigate how mental health interventions can impact on patients living with a terminal illness.

The Assistant Minister for Health Senator the Hon. Fiona Nash visted CSU in Wagga Wagga on Wednesday 27 May to announce the new national palliative care project.

Associate Professor Wheat said, “The funding for this project demonstrates a strong collaboration between Charles Sturt University and two not-for-profit organisations, Amaranth Foundation and integratedliving to deliver quality end of life services in our community and across the University’s footprint.”

Source: Charles Sturt University

July 14, 2016

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Listen, Acknowledge, Respond project is supported by the Commonwealth Department of Health