Fresh ideas needed for palliative care

Australia's biggest non-government group of health and aged care providers has joined forces with the nation's peak palliative care organisation to offer new ideas about making quality end-of-life care available for all Australians.

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) and Palliative Care Australia (PCA) today welcomed the fresh national focus on palliative care brought about by the National Health and Hospital Reform Commission's (NHHRC) recent interim report.

"By focusing on palliative care at all, the Commission has indicated that this issue is of much greater importance to health reform than has been acknowledged by previous participants in the health reform debate," said CHA chief executive Martin Laverty and PCA chief executive, Donna Daniell.

"PCA and CHA will work with the Commission to shape the detail of its final recommendations, and will offer the Federal Government new ideas on how to make quality care at the end of life a reality for all people.

"By including palliative care recommendations, the Commission has confirmed that Australia has not spent enough time properly understanding the role palliative care plays in delivering quality care at the end of life, and has not put enough resources into services."

CHA and PCA have invited palliative care practitioners, patients and carers to work with them on refining the NHHRC's palliative care recommendations.

"Not everything suggested in the report should be part of the way forward, but we are certainly heartened that the Commission is giving palliative care reform priority, up there with hospitals and aged care reform," Mr Laverty and Ms Daniell said.

In particular, PCA and CHA welcome the focus on:

  • Integrating palliative care across hospitals, sub-acute, primary and aged care;
  • Including health literacy in the national curriculum;
  • Building a culture of continuous improvement, research and innovation; and
  • Better use of workforce capabilities and improved clinical training infrastructure.
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