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Harpreet Kalsi-Smith

My passion to advocate and work in end of life care commenced after supporting my family care for my mother during her final months. My own experience in losing a baby and supporting those around me who have recently lost loved ones from cancer, dementia and old age has further driven me to work for better care for all approaching end of life.

As an end of life doula, I deeply understand the realities individuals and carers face when approaching end of life, along with their needs. What is evident to me is that the people I have supported didn’t feel truly heard by health professionals. I am working to change this.

I have been involved in shaping local and state health plans and policies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and have a strong understanding of the processes involved. With the work I have undertaken in that field, consumer voices have been integral to ensure the policies make a meaningful difference. More recently, I have been working in grief, loss, and developing creative and meaningful ways of supporting individual and collective healing journeys.

I believe the success of any policy or program relies on the foundations it commences with. It is a privilege for me to be part of the carer and consumer panel where I can advocate, collaborate, and share in national palliative care initiatives. As an Australian Indian woman who has close ties with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, I feel representation and advocacy for people from non-Anglo-Saxon backgrounds in end of life care is limited. This is due, at times, to compounding barriers (whether cultural or other) that some people face and need to be addressed. I hope to make a meaningful contribution to the panel.

If you would like to engage Harpreet or another consumer representative for your project, please complete an application form and return to pca@palliativecare.org.au or call 02 6232 0700.

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