A reflection on voluntary assisted dying and conscientious objection

Dying sculture

[Image by rmac8oppo from pixabay]

[The following essay by Dr Adrian Dabscheck, an experienced palliative care physician in Melbourne, explores the evolution of our society’s views towards death and reflects on the role of palliative care and voluntary assisted dying in this context – Chi]

During a recent period of enforced rest, I had time to reflect on my attitude to the recently enacted voluntary assisted dying legislation in Victoria and consider my response.I will detail my reaction to the Act and why I have chosen to become a so-called conscientious objector.

In his essay Western Attitudes Toward Death,French historian Philippe Ariès illustrates the evolution of our attitudes to death.

Initially, and for millennia, there had been a general resignation to the destiny of our species for which he used the phrase, Et moriemur, and we shall all die. This was replaced in the twelfth century by the more modern concept of the importance of one’s self, and he used the phrase, la mort de soi, one’s own death.  Continue reading

Palliative Care in the emergency department – PhD scholarship (Melbourne)

https://medicine.unimelb.edu.au/news-and-events/phd-scholarship-palliative-care-in-the-emergency-department-research

This looks like an interesting and worthwhile project under the wonderful  Prof Jenny Philip…..

The Project:

Hospital Emergency Departments (ED) face significant pressures and the challenge of providing quality care to high numbers of patients. In particular, patients with advanced cancer are known to frequently present to ED for worsening symptoms, treatment-related complications and need for additional support.

This PhD builds upon previous work to explore novel ways of identifying patients with cancer at increased risk of ED presentation.  This will include, but not be limited to, using established hospital and clinical datasets, to consider the development of a tool of risk stratification.   The candidate will be supported to further this project to develop potential interventional responses for palliative care patients in the emergency department.  The development of epidemiological data analytical skills will be an important outcome for this PhD candidate.

The Scholarship:

This PhD provides an exciting opportunity to work alongside other researchers and clinicians within a clinically embedded palliative research care unit at St Vincent’s Hospital in collaboration with other clinical partners as part of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre.

The successful candidate will be enrolled through the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne and be supervised by Professor Jennifer Philip, Associate Professor Brian Le in collaboration with Professor Vijaya Sundararajan (LaTrobe University). The candidate would also be supported by an established project team with interests in developing palliative care in the emergency department.

A competitive three year scholarship is available to the successful applicant to support their candidature.  Interested applicants are encouraged to apply and will be interviewed.

Amount awarded:

The scholarship is $30,000 per year for 3 years.

Eligibility/Selection Criteria:

  • An Honours degree in a health-related field such as Psychology, Medicine, Nursing, Public Health
  • Candidate must be competitive for an RTP scholarship or equivalent
  • Experience with quantitative datasets, or population-based research is desirable
  • Ability to work independently
  • Good written and oral communication skills
  • Good project management skills

Please contact Professor Jennifer Philip or Nora Hanafi if have any questions and/or to express your interest in the PhD project and scholarship.

Nora Hanafi

Research Programs Coordinator

Melbourne Medical School | Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences

E: shanafi@unimelb.edu.au

Whisper No More

‘Whisper No More‘ is a learning package that contains stories from Aboriginal people about their experience of cancer. Linked to a decade of research, it was prompted by findings from ‘A whispered sort of stuff‘, a report on a study undertaken with mid-west communities in Western Australia.

‘Whisper No More’ is freely available online for registered users and includes videos, discussion questions and links to key articles and websites. There is also specific content relating to future planning and discussions about end of life care.

FINAL_Flyer_WhisperNoMore_180528 (palliverse)

Understanding decision-making among people living with dementia

Decision-making in dementia survey

Researchers from the University of Western Australia and the Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre are trying to understand more about how Australian healthcare professionals understand and make judgements on decision-making among people living with dementia.

If you are an Australian health care professional or aged care worker and provide care, services or treatment to people living with dementia as part of your role, you are invited to participate in this short, online survey.

The study information and survey is available here

Study of palliative care triage in Australia

Demand for palliative care services in inpatient, community, outpatient and consultation services is increasing. In the context of finite resources, patients referred should undergo ‘triage’ – derived from the French term ‘trier’ meaning ‘to sort’ – the process of deciding which patients should be treated first based on how urgent their needs are.

A new study conducted in Victoria, Australia, explored palliative care providers’ practices and attitudes towards triaging palliative care needs and their views regarding the implementation of a standardised approach.

Continue reading

Bring dying refugee to Australia for palliative care, urge health professionals

Thousands of doctors have signed a petition calling on the immigration minister, Peter Dutton, to bring a refugee dying of advanced lung cancer to Australia for palliative care.

The 63-year-old is being held on Nauru and is a member of the persecuted Hazara minority in Afghanistan. He has been formally recognised as a refugee. But the Australian Border Force told the man that he could not come to Australia for palliative care, despite claims that the palliative care available on Nauru is inadequate.

The Australian Border Force  (ABF) has told the 63-year-old patient, who is suffering from advanced lung cancer, that he is deemed to have “refused treatment” because he declined to be moved to Taiwan to die. Cynically, the ABF has also offered the patient $25,000 to return home to Afghanistan. Continue reading

APLI forum Sydney 5 September promoting palliative care in Asia-Pacific

Interesting in helping to develop palliative care in the Asia-Pacific region?

APLI is the Australasian Palliative Link International.

It is a small charitable organisation made up of Australian and New Zealand palliative care clinicians. APLI aims :

  • to develop and foster links between palliative care providers and organisations in Australia and New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region
  • to raise awareness of the needs of new palliative care services and the need for further development of the discipline in the region.
  • to provide a forum for the exchange of information and ideas between providers of palliative care in the region.

Continue reading

Supported decision-making for aged care providers: Launch of a Policy Development Guideline

SDM_SydneyLaunch_Email_RELEASE.jpg

Researchers from the Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre are releasing a Policy Development Guideline on Supported Decision-Making for aged care providers in Australia. Supported Decision-Making is a rights-based approach aimed at enabling people living with disability to make and/or communicate decisions about their own lives. Supported Decision-Making is promoted within the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Australian Law Reform Commission’s National Decision-Making Principles. This area is also topical for aged care providers, given current reviews of guardianship legislation in a number of Australian states.

This free seminar will give an overview of the broader research project, and explain the process of guideline development, with tips for implementation in aged care settings.

Registration is free, but places are limited.

 

 

What matters most? #NPCW18

 

National Palliative Care Week 2018 is just around the corner. This year, we are asking Australians what matters most – to them, to their family & friends, and to their communities?  Continue reading

One weekend, two funerals

A few weeks ago I had the unusual circumstance of attending two events to mark the passing of people in my life, in the same weekend. One was for a family member, and one for a close friend. I have wanted to reflect on how we express ourselves and each other in funeral practices. The events were very different, and having them so close upon each other made the contrast seem quite noticeable. Both expressed the love and loss in touching ways. Below is a short pastiche of images and moments, which I hope will paint a picture.

Continue reading