LISMORE TALKS ON PALLIATIVE CARE TO SHAPE POLICY
The future of palliative care services in Northern NSW will be discussed at a roundtable in Lismore tomorrow to better tailor end-of-life care in regional areas.
Lismore MP Thomas George and Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health, Leslie Williams will host the talks at Lismore City Council Chambers.
“One of the NSW Government’s top priorities is to improve end-of-life care and to provide more tailored, community-based palliative care services,” Mr George said.
“Over the past 18 months, an additional $1 million has been spent on palliative care services across the Northern NSW Local Health District, in addition to the $3.8 million already allocated to palliative care services annually.
“This is a significant commitment but we appreciate more can always be done which is why we are here today. We want to hear what’s working, what needs improvement and any innovative ideas on this pressing issue.”
About 50,000 people die each year in NSW and the figure will double by 2056. Palliative care manages pain and other distressing symptoms for people approaching the end of their lives. Parliamentary Secretary Leslie Williams, a former registered nurse who worked in palliative care, said we need to ensure people have more choice to die with dignity.
“At present, more than half of all deaths in Australia occur in hospitals, though many people indicate, at various stages of their lives that they would prefer to die at home,” Mrs Williams said.
“As a community, we need to have a more open discussion about how to better support the physical, personal, social and spiritual needs of people as death approaches.”
Mrs Williams said delivering palliative care in Northern NSW has its own challenges, as the needs of individual patients and regions differ greatly.
Lismore is the second of nine roundtables being held throughout regional NSW following discussions in Orange. Subsequent roundtables will take place in Kempsey, Broken Hill, Tamworth, Griffith, Newcastle, Queanbeyan and Kiama.
The NSW Government currently provides palliative care support to the Northern NSW Local Health District through Palliative Care Specialists, dedicated Palliative Care nursing teams in hospitals and the community, and the provision of end-of-life packages through non-government organisation, Silver Chain.