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An exhibitor’s perspective — 2022 CRANAplus Conference

9 Dec 2022

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.