'Matters of Life and Death' - a local perspective
23 May 2023
The theme for National Palliative Care Week 21 – 27 May, 'Matters of Life and Death' aims to raise awareness about palliative care and its benefits and to celebrate the dedication of all those working and volunteering in palliative care across Australia.
Ms Prue Buist, CEO of COORDINARE - South Eastern NSW PHN said palliative care and end of life care will become increasingly important, given our regions ageing population and the growing demand for palliative care services.
“While most people say they would prefer to be cared for and to die at home, currently this outcome is often not achieved,” said Ms Buist.
“COORDINARE is committed to improving health experiences and outcomes for older people, and those receiving palliative and end of life care. We are working with community, general practice, Local Health Districts and service providers to raise awareness of local palliative care systems and support, to build capacity and skills in the workforce and to promote and support system integration across the sector.”
Illawarra-based general practitioner, Dr Nicole Hutt, said, “It is hard for family and carers to prepare for this phase of life, especially when it is a loved one. But dying is a natural part of life. There comes a time for every person when we need to change priorities and focus on making someone comfortable so they can die with dignity and feel cared for and supported during that time.”
“Palliative care is not just provided in hospital, but through GPs in the home, hospice and aged-care facilities. It treats physical symptoms as well as emotional, spiritual and social concerns while also providing practical assistance and emotional support for family members and carers,” said Dr Hutt.
Pictured: Dr. Nicole Hutt, Illawarra based general practitioner.
Ms Buist added, “Palliative care is much more than additional support at the end of a person’s life. For some people, palliative care is beneficial from the time of diagnosis, helping to manage symptoms and is given alongside treatments provided by other doctors.
“People of all ages, including children, who have been diagnosed with a serious life-limiting illness which cannot be cured can benefit from quality palliative care.
“It is important this Palliative Care Week to show our appreciation for all health professionals and volunteers who contribute to a person-centred team approach to palliative care,” said Ms Buist.
National Palliative Care Week is an opportunity to encourage important conversations in the community about the benefits of quality palliative care. This includes advance care planning, a process of planning for a person’s future health and personal care by ensuring their values, beliefs and preferences are known, should they lose capacity in the future.
Advance care planning enables people to identify ‘what matters most’ ensuring they get the care they want, not the care they don’t want, at the end of life.
A documentary titled 'Live the Life you please' will screen in Shellharbour on May 22 at 6pm at EVENT Cinemas will feature a diverse range of Australians sharing their last chapter of life. Book your tickets here and find out more about the making of the documentary here.