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This is where we tell your stories, cover topical issues and promote meaningful initiatives
An exhibitor’s perspective — 2022 CRANAplus Conference
In October 2022, CareSearch returned to face-to-face conferences by attending the 39th CRANAplus Conference in Adelaide. Katrina Erny-Albrecht and Susan Gravier from CareSearch write about their experience as exhibitors.
It is often through informal conversations that we learn how things really are for others. For information services like CareSearch, the CRANAplus Conference is a place to learn how we can help rural Australia.
CareSearch’s focus is translating evidence for palliative care practice. Palliative care is about support for quality of life at any stage of a life-limiting illness, including alongside active treatment. It is more than terminal care. So, what did we learn?
While supporting people at the end of life is, for most rural and remote health care professionals, not everyday business, it is very much part of what they do. Very few delegates told us they provide palliative care. Yet, many spoke of caring for people with advanced life-limiting illnesses such as heart failure, dementia, lung disease, or cancer. The challenge of supporting people to die in a place of their choosing was often told.
We heard of increasing demand among travelling retirees with serious advanced illness, the impact of tattoos on timely melanoma detection, and concern over shrinking palliative care services. This picture of palliative care and increasing demand in rural Australia is only partly driven by population ageing.
We also heard how rural families often need to take on roles of carer, advocate, and care team member. At this time access to trustworthy and relevant information such as provided in the CareSearch Community Centre is important.
Written for community, it connects people with information and services whether they are curious and ready to talk about end of life or have palliative care needs. Most people with palliative care needs do not need specialist services. As we learnt, often it is rural health professionals who are specialists in other areas but generalists in palliative care who provide care at the end of life. But the call for skills in palliative care can be infrequent.
This underlines the importance of a trusted and current resource that clinicians can turn to for guidance and that is the purpose of CareSearch Health Professionals Centre. The GP Hub and Nurses Hub provide practical evidence-based information across assessment, planning, physical and psychosocial care, and grief and bereavement.
We also heard that internet access and reliability remain a problem in rural Australia. So, our printed resources and offline palliAGED apps help with relevant and practical guidance even when out of range.
Enabling people to die in their place of choice is one of the priorities within the Australian Government’s National Palliative Care Strategy 2018. For people living in rural and regional Australia it requires everyone to take an active role. How well equipped people are for that role varies. This is precisely why accessible practical information that can be relied on is important. That is what CareSearch represents for rural Australians. Attending the CRANAplus Conference to hear your stories and emerging needs is how we keep it relevant.
A full list of sponsors and exhibitors of the 39th CRANAplus Conference can be found on the conference website. Sponsorship and exhibition opportunities for 2023 will be made available on this website closer to the date.