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Standards & Ethics

The HELD Standards and Ethics represent the guiding principles by which we intend to help our members conduct business honestly and with integrity. This document outlines best practice in members’ approach problems, the ethical principles based on HELD’s core values, and the standards to which our members are held.

1. Assessment of Needs

  • Holistic Evaluation: Conduct thorough assessments considering the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social needs of the individual. The person may be supported by their family, carer or substitute decision-maker(s), and any other services which may assist with supported decision-making.
  • Medical Referral: If a person initially contacts a HELD member, depending on their circumstances, a referral to see a healthcare provider should be given if this has not already occurred.
  • Medical Evaluation: Assessments are carried out by a qualified healthcare provider in partnership with the members of the individual’s care team (including End-of-Life Doula), wherever feasible. The person may be supported by their family, carer or substitute decision-maker(s), and any other services which may assist with supported decision-making.
  • Individual-Centric: Tailor assessments to the unique circumstances and preferences of each person.
  • Ongoing Review: Regularly reassess needs to adapt to any changes in the individual’s condition or wishes. These should be coordinated with family and medical teams to avoid duplication.

2. Developing a Comprehensive End-of-Life Care Plan

  • End-of-Life Plan: Created following the assessment of needs process.
  • Collaborative Planning: Involve the individual, their family, and a multidisciplinary team in creating and communicating the care plan.
  • Personalised Goals: Ensure the care plan reflects the individual’s goals, values, and preferences, wherever possible.
  • Documented and Accessible: Maintain clear, written documentation of the care plan that is easily accessible to all relevant parties.

3. Caring for Carers & Family

  • Support Systems: Provide emotional, informational, and practical support to carers and family.
  • Respite Care: Offer opportunities for carers to take breaks and look after their own well-being.
  • Daily Support: Aid with daily tasks to help ease the burden on carers and family.
  • Training and Education: Equip carers and family with the necessary skills, knowledge and resources to effectively support the individual in all non-medical aspects of the care plan and to identify the signs and symptoms of approaching death.

4. Providing Care

  • Compassionate Care: Deliver care with empathy, respect, and dignity.
  • Holistic Approach: Address the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social needs of the individual.
  • Medical Care: The healthcare providers with overall responsibility for leading and coordinating a person’s care must be clearly identified and documented in the person’s comprehensive care plan. The leading healthcare provider may delegate this coordination role to someone else in the care team.
  • Consistency and Continuity: Ensure care is consistent and continuous, minimising disruptions and transitions.
  • Holistic and Medical Partnership: Multidisciplinary teams work together to ensure care is responsive and delivered promptly, in accordance with changing needs of the person, their family and carers and any substitute decision-maker(s), the documented care plan and the person’s goals, values and preferences.
  • Anticipatory Planning: Ensure access to appropriate care is available 24/7 (including family and carer support), including access to the person’s records and advance care directive, community support and respite care. Work with the multidisciplinary team to ensure access to an out-of-hours medical advice/support line is available.

5. Transition Within and Between Services

  • Seamless Transitions: Work with healthcare providers and families to facilitate smooth transitions between different care settings and providers.
  • Clear Communication: Maintain open and clear communication between all parties involved in the individual’s care.
  • Comprehensive Handover: Ensure all relevant information is transferred during transitions to avoid gaps in care.

6. Grief Support

  • Inclusive Support: Provide culturally appropriate information and resources about loss and grief support to both the bereaved and those anticipating loss.
  • Professional Resources: Offer options for professional counselling and support groups through healthcare providers, as appropriate.
  • Long-Term Support: Recognise that grief support may be needed long after the individual has passed away. This may require ongoing work with the families or referral to specialist resources.

7. Service Culture

  • Respect and Dignity: Foster a culture of respect and dignity for individuals and their families.
  • Holistic Values: Embrace and promote holistic values in all aspects of care and work.
  • Ethical Practice: Adhere to the HELD Code of Conduct, ensuring integrity and transparency in all actions.

8. Quality Improvement

  • Continuous Improvement: Regularly review and improve care and work practices and policies.
  • Feedback Mechanisms: Implement systems to gather and respond to feedback from individuals, families, and others.
  • Evidence-Based Practice: Utilise holistic evidence-based practices to enhance care quality.

9. Qualifications and Training

  • Competent Workforce: Ensure all staff and volunteers have the necessary qualifications and skills to support the work in this space.
  • Ongoing Education: Participate in continuous professional development opportunities.
  • Holistic Training: Include holistic care principles in training programs to enhance comprehensive care delivery.

For more details on the implementation and guidelines of these standards, please refer to the resources and policies available on the HELD website at www.held.org.au.