Australia needs an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Palliative Care and End of Life Strategy
Australia needs an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Palliative Care and End of Life StrategyWednesday, July 06, 2022
NAIDOC Week provides an opportunity for Palliative Care Australia (PCA) to highlight the need for better access to culturally appropriate end of life care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“With the 47th Parliament getting to work, we are renewing our advocacy around the development of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Palliative Care and End of Life Strategy,” says Camilla Rowland, CEO of Palliative Care Australia.
“The need is there across Australia, but there are gaps in our delivery of palliative care services to First Nations communities that require special attention.
“There are cultural sensitivities around death that we need to better understand in order to provide appropriate palliative care.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander beliefs and practices need to be respected and accommodated during end of life care – and a strategy that is understood and shared across the health sector is the first step.
“Spirituality and that sense of place is central to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and lore; receiving end of life support on country and close to community offers people rest, peace, and respect – and provides that comfort and connection to all involved in someone’s journey.
“And apart from providing better person-centred care, the economics of providing a more community focussed approach to palliative care stack up.
“In 2020, KPMG found that reducing palliative related hospital admissions can save $460 million per year,” Ms Rowland says.
While Palliative Care Australia continues to advocate for funding to develop a strategy, we are actively building relationships within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to understand what the priorities are and see how those learnings can be shared.
“PCA has engaged with a group of health leaders to create the ‘Palliative Care Yarning Circle’ to offer advice on existing programs, and guidance as we move forward. It’s important to us that this is led by the community,” Ms Rowland says.
“And imagine what the wider community will learn as we share these conversations.”
Palliative Care Australia also offers a range of tools and learning opportunities focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Those resources can be accessed free by anyone in the community via the Palliative Care Australia website.
“Our PCA team is based on Ngunnawal Country in Canberra; our respect and admiration for Australia’s Traditional Owners extends across our wide brown land and we step forward to play our role in our nation’s reconciliation process. Happy NAIDOC Week!” Ms Rowland says.
Artwork: 'Journey of Life' by Sarah Richards, a Ngiyampaa woman and PCA Board Member. Learn more about Sarah's artwork HERE.
Media contact: Ian Campbell - 0417 482 171 or firstname.lastname@example.org