Report Calls for National Conversation on Palliative Care
11 October 2012 at 2:33 pm
A report has been released into the state of palliative care in Australia. Photo: ecu.edu.au
The Senate has released a long?awaited report into the state of palliative care in Australia, calling for a national conversation on palliative care.
The Inquiry, chaired by Greens Senator, Rachel Siewert, praised the contributions of individuals and organisations who contributed 138 submissions and 23 oral accounts of their personal experience with palliative care.
The Senators described listening to the oral evidence as, at times, ‘harrowing’ but always ‘ennobling.’
The committee made 38 recommendations on areas including palliative care funding, education for health professionals, education for the community, ongoing research, the need for improved access to information about services and supporting people to die in the place of their choice.
The recommendations also focus on the needs of specific groups such as Indigenous Australians, CALD communities and children.
Dr Yvonne Luxford, chief executive officer of Palliative Care Australia said, "There is no doubt that the Senate received a clear message from the sector about what needs to be done to improve palliative care in this country."
"The comprehensiveness of the report and the response from the Senators involved in the Inquiry is extremely encouraging. We look forward to seeing palliative care made a real priority in the current health reforms and recognised as an integral part of the health system."
The report highlighted advance care planning as a key priority for improvement, saying the current system is a ‘mess’ and recommending that there is a national framework developed to support people to make choices about their end of life care.
It also suggested that palliative care needs to be funded under a separate category, not as part of subacute services as it is currently, and that Activity Based Funding must ‘deal with the complexities of palliative care.
"Palliative Care Australia looks forward to getting the national conversation started and making quality care at the end of life a reality for all Australians," Luxford said.
The national peak body and advocate for the Australian healthcare system, Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association (AHHA), has commended the Senate Committee on the report.
“Palliative care is an essential component of the health system which touches the lives of all Australian families,” AHHA chief executive, Prue Power said.
“In particular, AHHA supports the emphasis on a national palliative care pathway and the integration of palliative care into a comprehensive primary health care system.
“We also support the recommendation for a national framework for research in this area and the need for advanced care training as a component of the aged care accreditation standards.
Power said the AHHA looks forward to working with the government and other stakeholders to progress the recommendations in report.