National Palliative Care Week Q&A with Liz Callaghan, CEO of Palliative Care Australia

“Palliative Care is holistic care that helps people to live well with a serious or terminal illness and focuses on quality of life, comfort, and dignity”—Liz Callaghan, CEO of Palliative Care Australia

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Palliative Care (source: The Gospel)

That is the essence of Palliative Care in Australia and with National Palliative Care Week approaching, May 21-27, Palliative Care Australia CEO Liz Callaghan took time out of her schedule to answer a few question about what the week is about and what the organisation wants people to know about this topic.

Q1) What is National Palliative Care Week about? And what do you want people to learn and take away from it?

National Palliative Care Week is the annual awareness raising week for palliative care in Australia. This year, we are focussing on educating Australians about the importance of being able to access palliative care in aged care services.

We also want all Australians to talk to their loved ones and doctors about their end-of-life care wishes. We have a guide, the Dying to Talk Discussion Starter, to help you reflect on what’s important to you and help you start talking.

Q2) How did you come up with this year’s theme of ‘You matter, your care matters. Palliative care can make a difference’ and how does it differ from themes from previous years?

Palliative care is an approach to care that people of any age can benefit from. This year, we decided to shine a light on how palliative care can assist people in aged care to have a high quality of life, right to the end of life. Many people aren’t aware that aged care services often don’t have specialist palliative care support.

Palliative Care Australia (PCA) aims to ensure that everyone who is accessing, or thinking about accessing aged care services, know the importance of being able to access palliative care within the services.

Q3) Who can be affected and helped by palliative care?

Palliative Care is holistic care that helps people to live well with a serious or terminal illness and focuses on quality of life, comfort, and dignity and can be accessed by people of any age. It is also supports family members and carers through the course of the person’s illness and continues the support after their death.

However, it’s not just about providing people with basic needs, but ensuring they have the chance to live their life as fully and comfortably as possible. This can include providing a myriad of services, from pain relief to social and cultural support.

Q4) How can someone find out if palliative care is the right option for them and how it can help them?

If you or someone you care for has a serious or terminal illness, you should talk with your doctor or healthcare professional about when palliative care can be accessed.

A specialist palliative care services team will approach and collaborate with other health providers to ensure that care provided is focused on the whole individual and their physical, emotional, practical, and spiritual needs.

Q5) How can people learn more and support Palliative Care Australia?

Resources to help you have a conversation with your loved ones can be found at www.dyingtotalk.org.au

People can learn more about palliative care and find their local service at our website www.palliativecare.org.au