What’s it all about?

Palliative care is an approach to improve quality of life for those facing problems such as life-threatening illness.

This week is National Palliative Care Week, an annual awareness raising event organised by Palliative Care Australia.

The theme for this year’s National Palliative Care Week is ‘What matters most?’ and is taking place 20-26 May 2018.

The theme addresses the need for Australians to plan ahead for their end-of-life care and discuss their plans with their loved ones and health professionals.

Why is palliative care important?

Patients of palliative care are given the opportunity to live as comfortably as possible and as best as they can before their lives enter the final stages. Care is offered based on a patient’s individual needs.

Palliative care also assists families struggling to take care of sick loved ones by easing their concerns about their treatment. When a loved one has a life-threatening illness, it can be incredibly stressful for families. Palliative care relieves some of that pressure, as family members know their loved ones are living in the care of qualified professionals.

Palliative care can include:

  • Relief of pain and other symptoms, such as vomiting and shortness of breath
  • Resources, such as equipment needed to aid care at home
  • Assistance for families to come together to talk about sensitive issues
  • Links to other services, such as home help and financial support
  • Support for people to meet cultural obligations
  • Support for emotional, social and spiritual concerns
  • Counselling and grief support
  • Referrals to respite care services.

Palliative care is a family-centred model, meaning family and carers can receive practical and emotional support while their loved one receives treatment.

Who is palliative care for?

Palliative care is for people of any age who have been told they have a serious illness that cannot be cured. Palliative care assists people with illnesses such as cancer, motor neurone disease and end-stage kidney or lung disease. It helps sufferers manage symptoms and improves their quality of life.

For some people, palliative care may be beneficial from the time of diagnosis. Palliative care can be given alongside treatments given by other doctors.

How can you get involved with Palliative Care Week?

  • Make a one-off tax-deductible donation to Palliative Care Australia
  • Become a Palliative Care Australia corporate partner and align your brand with this very worthy cause
  • Share your personal story about palliative care
  • Raise funds for Palliative Care Australia by organising an event such as a fun run, golf day, charity auction or trivia night
  • Become a Palliative Care Australia volunteer and assist with admin support, fundraising or marketing
  • Ask for donations to Palliative Care Australia in lieu of gifts for your birthday, wedding or anniversary
  • Spread the message about palliative care on Facebook, Twitter and your other social media platforms.

Feel free to utilise the social media hashtags #npcw18 and #dyingtotalk to raise awareness.