VAD model of care – consultative group workshop

September 19, 2018

On 29 November 2017, the Victorian Parliament passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017. From 19 June 2019, Victorians at the end of life, who are suffering and who meet strict eligibility criteria will be able to request access to voluntary assisted dying.

The Victorian Healthcare Association has been engaged by the Department of Health and Human Services to work alongside the DHHS Model of Care Working Group to support the development of a model of care and associated policies and protocols which are consistent with the Act; processes for quality improvement and review and tools that support employees that can be consistently applied across Victoria and engage in consultation with providers across Victoria.

As part of this project, the VHA has established three project groups: a consultative group, and two smaller development groups derived from the consultative group – a model of care development group and a quality development group.

The consultative group has been designed to provide an opportunity for subject-matter experts from across metropolitan, regional and smaller rural public and private hospitals, residential aged care, community-based palliative care, and primary health networks to provide feedback on the VHA’s work from the perspective of their service. Those services which will be implementing the legislation will also test the VHA’s work within their services.

The consultative group membership includes:



Tracey Gemmill

Chief Executive Officer/Director of Nursing, Cobram and District Retirement Villages Inc

Neeley Cordery

Manager, Quality, Care Connect

Dr Buddhika Mudugamuwa

Consultant Palliative Medicine, Bendigo Health

Alison Smith


Manager, Integrated Palliative Care Services, Bendigo Health and Loddon Mallee Regional Palliative Care Service

Kellie Bradley

Nurse Consultant, Palliative Care South East

Dr Sanjeev Gill

Medical Oncologist, Alfred Health

Professor Steve Ellen

Director, Psychosocial Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Kelsay Smith

Manager, Advance Care Planning Program, Monash Health

Joy Forster

Psychiatric Consultation Liaison Nurse, Psychosocial Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Rachel Bovenizer

Chief Executive Officer, Peninsula Home Hospice

Professor Erwin Loh

Chief Medical Officer, Monash Health

Marissa Clarkson

Psychosocial Occupational Therapist, Gateway Health/Regional Community Health

Dr Karen Detering

Medical Director, Advance Care Planning, Austin Health

Dr George Braitberg

Executive Director, Quality Strategy and Improvement, Melbourne Health

Dr Ian Mackay

General Practitioner, Corangamite Clinic, Colac Area Health

Professor Claire Johnson

Vivian Bullwinkel Chair for Palliative Care Nursing and Clinical Lead, End of Life Care, Eastern Health

Dr Forbes McGain

Anaesthetist and Intensive Care Physician, Western Health

Barbara-Ann Cass

Associate Nurse Unit Manager, Peninsula Health

Dr Michelle Gold

Director, Palliative Care, Alfred Health

Kim Harwood

Clinical Services Manager, Wintringham Specialist Aged Care

Michelle Wood

Executive Officer, Banksia Palliative Care Service

Maxine Brockfield

Chief Executive Officer/Director of Nursing, Corryong Health

Stephen Thomas

General Manager, Innovation and Quality, Jewish Care Victoria

Veronica Jamison

State Manager, Vic/Tas General Manager, Member Support, Leading Aged Services Australia (LASA)

Mohammed Salman

Paralegal, Western Health

Rosemary Aldrich

Chief Medical Officer, Ballarat Health Services

Meredith Hodder

Acute Services Manager, Rochester and Elmore District Health Service

The VHA VAD consultative group commenced work on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Model of Care project last week, and attended the first VHA VAD workshop in Melbourne. The workshop was designed to explore a framework for a patient-centred model of care, and to identify potential issues, referral pathways, process roadblocks and workarounds for implementing voluntary assisted dying in Victoria. The VAD consultative group was joined by members of the VAD Implementation Taskforce, VAD Guidance Working Group. Consumer representatives were also present to provide input and ensure a patient-centric approach to the sessions.

The workshop used innovative tactile tools, (pictured) designed by Leah Heiss and delivered by Leah and Marius Foley of the RMIT School of Design.

The morning session used five different personas, each persona demonstrating a request for voluntary assisted dying.  The participants were divided into groups based on expertise, geographical location and relevance of the patient scenarios to their health service and/or expertise.

The afternoon session took the big issues or ‘roadblocks’ identified in the morning session and used them to work on solutions and to develop team centred principles and processes for the ongoing development, iteration and testing of the model of care.

The workshop was the first meeting of the consultative group, which will continue to meet leading up to the commencement of VAD in Victoria.

For more information contact Cate O’Kane, Voluntary Assisted Dying Project Manager at