Kate is the Clinical Director of the Canterbury Integrated Palliative Care Services and a Clinical Senior Lecturer with the University of Otago. She established the Christchurch Hospital Palliative Care Service in 1999 and has an ongoing leadership role at the Nurse Maude Hospice.
Kate was President of the Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine (RACP) between 2006 and 2009, Chair of the Palliative Care Council of NZ for 6 years until 2014 and Chair of the Palliative Care Workstream (part of the South Island Alliance) for over 4 years until February this year. She is a member of the Advance Care Planning Steering group with the Health Quality Safety Commission.
Kate is passionate about quality, education and improving clinician-patient communication.
Improving Quality In Care At The End Of Life
Ensuring that our health system is providing quality end of life care is important for the patients who are dying, for their whānau and friends and for the health professionals looking after them. Palliative care and hospice specialists are a small workforce, thinly spread across community settings including aged residential care and increasingly they have become an integral service within acute hospitals. Palliative care is able to assist with management of complex cases on referral plus they provide expert back-up and support, education and training for the wider workforce and are involved with policy development. Another key role is to evaluate the status of care of the dying within each health care setting, to ensure that all staff are willing and able to provide the necessary care when required.
Over a third of all deaths occur in hospitals and this is showing no signs of reducing. In my DHB, the highest proportion of hospital deaths occurs within General Medicine. For each person who is dying, there is only one chance to get it right. Each death is a learning opportunity and requires reflection, openness and empathy. Driving up quality is a big job – in part because dying is confronting and distressing and there are so many other competing priorities. Ensuring people are adequately supported to make good health care decisions in the context of advanced, serious and life threatening illness is an ongoing challenge.
Kate will share information on a number of current initiatives around care of the dying and communication skills which will be relevant to your daily clinical work.