National Palliative Care Week 2024 – a landmark event for health and care sectors

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National Palliative Care Week 2024 – a landmark event for health and care sectors

‘Matters of life and death’ have been the central focus of National Palliative Care Week 2024.

“Our campaign this year has reached millions of Australians where they are and supported conversations about end of life planning as well developing a greater awareness of the holistic team approach that is at the heart of palliative care,” says Camilla Rowland, Chief Executive Officer, Palliative Care Australia.

A host of local events across the week as well as a dynamic social media campaign has allowed Palliative Care Australia (PCA), its members around the country, and sector more broadly, to embrace a new look and feel – with the official launch of the ‘orange heart’ as the symbol of the sector and the ‘people at the heart of quality palliative care.’

“The orange heart represents the care, connection, and warmth that is such a part of palliative care, it represents the bond between health professionals and volunteers and the people and families in their care,” Ms Rowland says.

The community is invited to buy and wear an orange heart lapel pin as a show of support for the people giving and receiving palliative care – HERE.

Local events where the orange heart featured:

National Palliative Care Week is supported by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care and is the nation’s largest annual initiative of its kind.

“We are very grateful for the extra support this year of the wider health, care, and advocacy sector who have helped amplify our message and break down those taboos that seem to stop us talking about death and dying – and seeing it as a phase of life,” Ms Rowland says.

“Each year our ambition is to also show our appreciation for the doctors, nurses, physios, dieticians, social workers, therapists, volunteers, and many others who deliver quality of life to people with life limiting illness and their loved ones."

Just two of the comments posted to social media:

“Hi there, I have cancer and I have stopped treatment. Now I have the palliative care nurses involved with me. They can’t do enough for me. I only thought they were for people that were going to die. I was very wrong. So, I wish all the palliative care nurses all the best. They are the best. Well mine are the best!” – Ros

“Palliative care does not prolong nor shorten life, it makes sure that patients are free from distressing symptoms and pain, it also provides support for the patient's family - it’s about quality of life as long as it lasts,” - Susan

Palliative Care Australia used the week to launch a number of significant sector wide initiatives:

“We are especially excited about the early response to the national survey, with over 300 completed surveys in the first two days,” Ms Rowland says.

“This landmark survey will be open for a few months, questions are targeted at those working in the specialist palliative care, aged care, primary health, and allied health sectors.

“The survey only takes 10 minutes, and is an important opportunity to empower PCA’s advocacy, policy development, and awareness raising on behalf of patients and their loved ones, at a national and local level.”

You can access and complete the survey HERE.

“Thank you to everyone who got involved, had conversations and lent their support to National Palliative Care Week in 2024, but please don’t stop here, the issues and ideas raised are relevant every week of the year.” Ms Rowland says.

For advice, tools, and support with ‘matters of life and death’ click HERE.