Ed: As you may know this month our #pallanz tweetchat in partnership with PCA is focused on Caring for the Carers. In this article Tessa Morgan, Merryn Gott, and Lisa Williams explore the experience and care needs of women who are palliative carers. This piece is part of an ongoing series of blog articles entitled “Gender in palliative care” .
It doesn’t take an expert to conclude that the palliative care workforce is dominated by women. Globally, women make up the vast majority of the paid palliative care workforce. Ninety percent of the nurses and health care assistants involved with end of life care are women and there are a higher proportion of women in Palliative Medicine than in most other specialities. Over half of Palliative Medicine physicians in Australia, for example, are women. This is in addition to the vast (and ever-increasing) number of women who provide unpaid care for their dying relatives. It is hardly a stretch, then, to regard palliative care as essentially a woman’s domain. Indeed, with the rise in population of the oldest-old, the need for more people – presumably women – to provide palliative care in hospice, aged care and community settings will continue to grow.