An open letter to Victorians on #PalliativeCare #VAD #euthanasia

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PC clinician open letter Final

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2017 – a global call for Universal Health Coverage and Palliative Care

Author: Kate Jackson, WHPCA

On 14 October, over 200 organisations around the world will raise their voices to celebrate World Hospice and Palliative Care Day and Voices for Hospices 2017.

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world. Voices for Hospices is a wave of concerts taking place on World Hospice and Palliative Care Day every two years.

The theme of this year’s World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is: Universal Health Coverage and Palliative Care: Don’t leave those suffering behind!

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Stop the horror(ible misrepresentation)

This short film released this week tells an awful story of a man and his family that is apparently based on true events. It is clear from the film that the man did NOT receive the best palliative care currently available.

The film concludes with a statement that people like the man depicted die in awful ways “[d]espite the best available palliative care”. This statement is at odds with the film, which depicts him NOT receiving “the best available palliative care”.

Why did the poor man NOT receive “the best available palliative care”? The film does not tell us why. The statement at the conclusion of the film does not tell us why. We are left to wonder why this poor man and his family did NOT receive “the best available palliative care” for their suffering.

This film is a powerful depiction of the suffering experienced by patients and their families when they do NOT receive “the best available palliative care”. This film about suffering and suboptimal palliative care should lead us to demand better access to “the best available palliative care” from our politicians.

You can watch the R-rated (suitable for persons aged 18 years and over) film here.

Research priorities in Australian adult palliative care

We at Palliverse support open dialogue between researchers, clinicians, policy-makers and the broader community as to how things are going and what are the priority areas for future work. Please see below a research opportunity which is relevant to researchers and clinicians working in Australian adult palliative care settings. Continue reading

‘Elder Abuse: A National Legal Response’ – Report from Australian Law Reform Commission

ElderRefugee

Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The United Nations, in their resolution 66/127, established June 15th as a global day, which aims to raise awareness about elder abuse as a global issue, ‘everybody’s business’ and one that will become of increasing importance as our global population ages.

Elder abuse is defined as ‘a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person’ (WHO). It can include physical, psychological, emotional, financial or sexual abuse, and neglect.

While palliative and end-of-life care is not solely an issue for older people, it is timely to remember that many people accessing palliative care are also ageing, and often experiencing issues associated with elderhood, including societal attitudes towards older people. Many of these issues can influence people’s access to support, social engagement, health services and the enjoyment of personal freedoms and decision-making rights, making this an area of direct relevance for palliative care.

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Advance care directives, palliative care, and euthanasia

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[Image by Nick Youngson]

Why do palliative care people bang on about advance care planning all the time?

Well, when you break it all down, advance care planning is all about respect. Respecting the values, goals and preferences of the person making the plan. And palliative care is really big on respecting people’s preferences and values, especially when it comes to their end-of-life care.

Unfortunately, when it comes to respecting people’s choices around their health care, the law has been lagging behind. Existing laws around advance care plans and medical decision making are often confusing for patients and families, as well as their treating clinicians. Fortunately, this is all about to change in Victoria.  Continue reading

Healthcare communication – A network for our region

Palliverse was lucky enough to be present for the excellent Teaching communication in Healthcare conference in Melbourne hosted by the Cancer Council Victoria last December.  At this conference multiple members of the European Association of Healthcare Communication including Jonathan Silverman and current president Evelyn Van Weel -Baumgarten joined local representatives of EACH Peter Martin and Megan Chiswell.
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During the event the key message was of the importance of communication skills to be able to provide care that is patient-centred, empathetic, safe, ethical, efficient and high-quality.  Unlike many other clinical skills communication is also largely universal in that it is practiced by clinicians in all encounters.  Supporting communication skills education is therefore a critical way of improving the quality of care provided by our healthcare system.

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#ANZSPM16 tweet chat: the (hidden) cost of caring

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A game changer at the recent Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative medicine 2016 Conference (#ANZSPM16) was Dr Merryn Gott’s plenary presentation on the hidden costs of caring. Little is known about the financial impact of caring for people at the end of life.

She detailed some powerful anecdotes, including the story of two sisters whose mother lay dying in a hospital. The cost of parking was prohibitive and the daughters took it in turns to sit in the car watching out for the parking inspector. When their mother died, only one of the daughters was there; the other was in the car. Continue reading

Victorian end of life and palliative care framework

The Victorian government has released the long awaited end of life and palliative care framework. The framework aims to deliver care where and when people require it and ensure people from all walks of life can determine what happens to them at the end of their life. It recognises that palliative care services alone cannot meet the growing demand that our society will require for care in the final stage of life.

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Dying well

It’s a couple of years old now, but still good…. Here is the introduction to an article in the Conversation about how Australians need support to die at home. Should be mandatory reading for politicians and health service policy makers!

“The baby boomers are growing old and in the next 25 years the number of Australians who die each year will double. People want to die comfortably at home, supported by family and friends and effective services.

But more than half of Australians die in hospital and about a third die in residential care. Sometimes they have impersonal, lingering and lonely deaths; many feel disempowered.

Grattan Institute’s Dying Well report sets out how we can improve the quality of dying in Australia. With an investment of A$237 million, we can double the number of people who are supported to die at home – and the same amount could be released from institutional care spending to pay for it.”

I’d vote for it!

Read more here