Palliative (or end-of-life) care is one of the hardest subjects to ever discuss with your family, it is also one of the most important. The opportunity to discuss how you would like the final stages of your life to proceed should be embraced, not feared. Ensuring you receive quality care that is in line with your wishes; or being able to carry out the requests of a terminally ill or elderly family member is an important component in the grieving process and can provide much comfort and relief knowing you were able to fulfil these for someone.
A strong support network is vital when you are a patient, or caring for a patient, nearing the end of their life. Whether in a hospital, hospice, aged care facility or being cared for at home the physical and emotional labour involved can be huge. Palliative Care WA is the peak body for palliative care in Western Australia, working collaboratively with the community to raise awareness and provide access to quality palliative care. They have an initiative called Friends of Palliative Care, inviting members of the community to join and help them spread their message. The role of Friends of Palliative Care (WA) is to:
- Support the aims and objectives of Palliative Care WA
- Become an ambassador for the role of the palliative care team, supporting the patient and family
- Encourage patients/family/community to increase knowledge and awareness of what the palliative care team can offer a patient with a chronic/terminal disease
- Provide a link to the community — receive the monthly newsletter outlining Palliative Care WA activities and appropriate education material; and encouraging friends to have the right to contact the executive officer of Palliative Care WA with any concerns.
In addition to this, Friends of Palliative Care WA will play a role in encouraging:
- Early intervention support from the palliative care team
- The reach of palliative care services extending across the state
- Palliative care programs and support being developed within the patient’s home
- Building knowledge of the benefits that palliative care can bring to the family and community
Palliative Care WA can assist you with bringing together a care team, providing a range of services including medical and nursing care, counselling, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, dietary advice, exercise equipment, spiritual support and pastoral care. If you would like to know more, or are interested in becoming a Friend of Palliative Care WA, please give them a call on 1300 551 704 or visit their website www.palliativecarewa.asn.au for more information.