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Palliative care placed in the global spotlight

For one day - as part of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on 13 October - people, organisations and communities across the globe are set to come together to raise awareness and shine the spotlight on end of life care.

Australians of all ages are being encouraged to talk about their end of life wishes this World Hospice and Palliative Care Day (Source: Shutterstock)
Australians of all ages are being encouraged to talk about their end of life wishes this World Hospice and Palliative Care Day (Source: Shutterstock)

Focusing this year on the theme of ‘Because I Matter’, the world awareness day will centre on the lived experience of people affected by serious illness, looking at what matters most, including the often overlooked financial impact of palliative care needs on individuals and households.

Palliative Care Australia Chief Executive Officer Liz Callaghan welcomed this year’s theme, saying that it is important to highlight that everyone, no matter where they are in the world should have access to palliative care and be able to have a “good death”.

She adds that it is also important for everyone to reflect on what would matter most to them if they become seriously unwell and to talk about it with their loved ones and health professionals.

“It is important to have a global awareness day about palliative care and hospice care because at some point, all of us will die,” Ms Callaghan explains.

“It’s something all of us; no matter our nationality, race, income or age have in common.”

Ms Callaghan highlights that the World Health Organisation (WHO) lists palliative care as a human right to health, and notes that “we need global leadership to ensure all people can have their pain and other symptoms managed at the end of life”.

She also highlights that the aim of palliative care is to enable the person to have a high-quality of life for as long as possible by treating their symptoms - physical, social and emotional, and is encouraging all Australians young and old to use the day as an opportunity to discuss end of life care.

“I always encourage Australians to talk with their loved ones about what would matter most to them if they became seriously unwell,” she explains.

“Awareness days are always a good way to raise the profile of an issue and [we] support and promote World Hospice and Palliative Care Day as well as National Palliative Care Week in May to our members and broader community, as death is something that touches us all.”

Anyone looking to find out what would be important to them and for tips on how to discuss the topic with loved ones or health professionals can access Palliative Care Australia’s Dying to Talk resources online.

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