National Palliative Care Week in FWLHD
National Palliative Care week is being held from 24 to 30 May 2020 and the theme this year is Palliative Care, it's more than you think'
Palliative Care focuses on quality of life when cure is no longer possible. Palliative Care is care provided to a person with a life limiting illness. It assists with physical comfort such as pain and symptom management, and helps meet emotional, spiritual, cultural, social needs. It supports carers and family in their care of their loved one, and during their bereavement.
Palliative Care is more than you think, and there are a number of myths surrounding what Palliative Care actually is.
Myth: 'Palliative Care is only for people who are at the very end of their life'.
Truth: Palliative care is more than care provided only at the very end of life. Palliative care can help people with a life-limiting illness to live as well as possible, for as long as possible - supporting their physical, emotional, spiritual, cultural and social needs. For example, it can help a person with a life limiting illness who has pain, to be able to continue to live as independently and comfortably as possible. One in three Australians have had a family member receive palliative care.
Palliative Care provided at the end of life when someone is dying is only one part of Palliative Care. Whilst it is a very important part, ensuring that a person dies comfortably, there is a lot palliative care can do to improve a person's quality of life during their illness.
'My first reaction was 'but we don't need palliative care'. I feared what a referral to palliative care meant, but I felt more comfortable when I realised that palliative care was much more than death and dying. It was holistic care and support that helped my husband to 'live' in the time he had left. I know my family and I would not have coped without it'. (Carer)
Myth:'Palliative Care is only for people with advanced cancer'.
Truth: Palliative Care can be provided to any person with a life limiting illness. This can include advanced cancer; end stage kidney, heart or lung disease; neurological disorders such as Motor Neurone Disease or end stage Parkinson's disease; or end stage dementia.
Myth: 'Palliative Care is only provided in hospital'.
Truth: Palliative Care can be provided in any setting; a person's home, in hospital, in an aged care facility, or in a remote area. Palliative Care can be provided by a nurse, GP, or other health professional. Palliative Care is about giving people a choice as to where they would like to be cared, and also where they would like to die. Some people prefer to remain at home to die, others prefer to come into hospital. Health care professionals can have these
conversations with you, so they know what your wishes are, and how best they can help meet them. A referral to a Specialist Palliative Care Team can be made if additional support or advice is required with difficult symptoms or complex care needs.
Myth:'Talking about my wishes at the end of my life signals the beginning of the end'
Truth: Talking about something doesn't make it happen. But talking about your wishes in advance in case you are ever too ill to speak for yourself, is an important part of making sure you are receiving the type of care that you want, where you want. This is called Advance Care Planning. It is important to have these conversations with your family, your GP or your treating team. Documenting these wishes can be done through an Advance Care Directive. You can download a form at this website:
Far West Local Health District has two Specialist Palliative Care Services: Broken Hill and Dareton. These teams work closely with all facilities and services across the district.
For information or referrals contact:
Broken Hill - Phone 8080 1333 and ask for Palliative Care
Dareton - Phone +61 3 5021 7200 and ask for Palliative Care.