PALLIATIVE Care Tasmania is encouraging all Tasmanians to reflect on what would be most important to them if they became seriously ill.
With the theme of ‘What Matters Most?’, National Palliative Care Week – which was held in May – urged people to start thinking about their end of life.
According to the Productivity Commission’s recent report into human services, between 80,000 and 140,000 of the 160,000 people who die in Australia each year could benefit from high-quality, end-of-life care.
“With our ageing population, we are seeing a large demand for palliative care with needs increasing across Tasmania,” Palliative Care Tasmania chief executive officer Colleen Johnstone said.
“However, many people are unsure of what services are available, how to access them and the benefits of thinking about this and having the conversations early.”
As the peak body for palliative care in the state, Palliative Care Tasmania is proactive in education, community engagement and advocacy on behalf of the sector, the community and its members.
“Our mission is to ensure that all Tasmanians have access to good quality palliative and end-of-life care and are well educated on the support they can receive,” Ms Johnstone said.
“We want to get them thinking about what really matters most to them and start actually talking about it.”
By having these conversations with their loved ones and health professionals, people can ensure their treatment and care best aligns with their values and preferences regarding both the type and place of care, and place of death.
“Unfortunately, many people leave it too late to talk to family and friends about their wishes,” Ms Johnstone said.
“A reluctance to face up to some hard decisions while people are still healthy and able to choose for themselves makes the decision-making that much harder for their loved ones in the future.”
Ms Johnstone said dying was a normal part of life, so it was important for all Tasmanians to have discussions about death and dying and the type of care they would want to receive if they could no longer speak for themselves.
“National Palliative Care Week is a great excuse to get the ball rolling and start these conversations,” she said.
“Our website is also full of information on important topics such as palliative care services in Tasmania, advance care planning, planning for the future and links to other great websites which can help guide you in the right direction.”
For more information about palliative care in Tasmania, visit tas.palliativecare.org.au.
Caption: Senator Catryna Bilyk, left, met with Palliative Care Tasmania chief executive officer Colleen Johnstone and palliative care volunteer Rob Hill to talk about what would matter most to them if they were faced with a life-limiting illness.