The theme of this year’s National Palliative Care Week ‘Palliative Care It’s your right’, seeks to raise awareness about the rights of all Australians to access high-quality palliative care when and where they need it.
Acknowledging that palliative care is a universal human right, this year’s theme seeks to broaden the community’s perceptions, understanding and appreciation of palliative care, demonstrating its role in supporting the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social needs of people living with a life-limiting illness, their families and their care team.
Effective palliative care encourages people to make informed choices about what they want, not just regarding their medical treatment but also in terms of the goals they want to achieve in the final stages of their life. It can often be the case that loved ones are left making difficult decisions, and people at the end of life
have unnecessary or unwanted treatments because family weren’t sure or didn’t know what their wishes were.
An open and honest discussion can be challenging but finding non-threatening ways to broach the subject and talk with a loved one about your (and their) end-of-life wishes is crucial. As the theme suggests – it’s our right to have our choices known and respected.
Palliative care makes an enormous difference to people and their families and as such, events like National Palliative Care week deepen community understanding and remind us that it must become a national health priority. Knowing your rights and making the difficult decisions early can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. Talk to those close to you about end of life and what matters to you.