“You matter, your care matters,” was the key message from his Excellency Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor-General of Australia in declaring National Palliative Care Week 2017 open today. Palliverse was lucky enough to be in attendance for the event held on a stunning Canberra Autumn morning at Government House.
His Excellency introduced the importance of National Palliative Care Week by reflecting that we are all frail, mortal beings. This is the very nature of our experience. We all hope for comfort, dignity and to have a positive impact on the world within the time that we have. Addressing the focus on aged care of National Palliative Care Week 2017 his Excellency suggested that aged care is important in part because it acts to honours these wishes for comfort, dignity and to be of value for older Australians.
Importantly though, aged care also acts as a mechanism for our society to demonstrate how we value our older generations. Referencing the journalist Paul Kelly his Excellency reminded us that the current generation of older Australians negotiated our nation’s way through both the tragedy of World War Two, and managed to shepherd us into our current prosperity. We owe our older generation everything that we have, and this makes how we care for the 360,000 Australians in aged care even more important. As stated by the theme of National Palliative Care Week: They matter, their care matters.
His excellency also congratulated Palliative Care Australia for continuing to support needed conversations around death and dying that are so often avoided in our society.
Dr Jane Fischer, President of Palliative Care Australia, spoke after the Governor General giving some introduction to National Palliative Care Week in 2017. She said that PCA continues to work in collaboration with other organisations and peak-bodies to support improved understanding of palliative care in Australia. Dr Fischer suggested that National Palliative Care week will showcase developments in palliative care and aged care provision, and launch new interventions to improve the palliative care of older Australians.
Palliverse will continue to cover events this National Palliative Care Week. Please join us in the conversation and spreading the word.