National Palliative Care Week
Join the medical health community on the 22 – 28 May 2022 to celebrate National Palliative Care Week!
Let’s celebrate National Palliative Care Week between 22nd and 28th May 2022 to raise awareness and increase understanding of the many benefits surrounding palliative care and advocate for the right to palliative care for everyone.
Palliative care is a specialised and holistic caregiving approach. It is aimed at optimising quality of life while relieving emotional and physical symptoms for people living with serious and complex illnesses as well as their loved ones. It also includes care for those who are terminally ill and end-of-life care.
Palliative care Australia announced the theme for the year 2022 for National Palliative Care Week is ‘It’s your right’. The theme seeks to raise awareness for the rights of all Australians to have access to high quality palliative care whenever it is required. Let’s strive for increased and superior conversations in the community about the benefits of quality palliative care.
How will you be celebrating National Palliative Care Week?
Why is National Palliative Care Week Celebrated?
A lot of people still believe that palliative care is solely for end-of-life or hospice care, but in reality it is so much more than that. Anyone with a life-limiting illness has the right to live as autonomously and comfortably as they possibly can while navigating their condition. High-quality palliative care gives patients options for emotional, pain and symptom management leading to a higher quality of life while continuing to pursue curative measures.
The support of palliative care can help to control symptoms to make each day a more positive experience. It allows people with the condition to make the most of the time they have with family and friends and perform every-day activities with as much dignity and autonomy as possible.
The stigma surrounding palliative care is mainly due to its association with end-of-life care and this is perpetuated by late referral practices. It has been shown that early involvement of palliative care improves outcomes of people living with serious illnesses as well as for their loved ones and caregivers. This is why we raise awareness for the five different stages of palliative care throughout the lifecycle of a critical illness.
This study in Canada shows that early intervention of palliative care reduces the stigma of death, hopelessness and end-of-life associated with it to perceptions of ongoing care and improved quality of life. It also determined the need for education on the meaning of palliative care to encourage more people to seek it, therefore creating a more positive experience.
What is the Impact of Palliative Care?
There are five main stages of palliative care that represent a progression of possible services for patients and their loved ones as their illness or palliative care needs change. The ultimate goal at each stage is to maximise the quality of life for anyone experiencing the effects of chronic illness.
Palliative care can be given alongside treatments that aim to prolong or even cure a serious or life-threatening disease. In these instances, it may be possible for patients to recover and eventually progress out of palliative care. Some illnesses may require a patient to move in and out of palliative care, depending on the severity of their symptoms and how they change over time. Some patients may only ever experience stages one and two of palliative care.
As well as relief of physical symptoms, palliative care also emphasises the well-being of the patient, focusing on relieving emotional stress by addressing their cognitive, emotional, and spiritual needs, in addition to their physical and medical needs.
How to Celebrate National Palliative Care Week
In recent decades we have travelled so far in understanding how holistic care can benefit and relieve symptoms during serious illness for all involved. Dedicating a week to raising awareness about palliative care and our right to it as human beings on a yearly basis gives us the opportunity to shine a light on it and advocate for good palliative care to be widely available.
There are many things you can do and take part in on National Palliative Care Week:
Talk about it
Navigating serious illnesses comes with many trials and tribulations, emotional and physical turmoil. Talking about how palliative care aims to mitigate and improve quality of life during this time plays a huge part in reducing stigma. Bring up the subject with family, friends or coworkers about your experience and share facts that you have learned. You could also include it in your email signature or share information on your social media.
Share your story
Sharing our stories is one of the best ways to reduce stigma and create a better world of understanding. Although it can make us vulnerable, it can also generate support. You don’t have to do it during National Palliative Care Week but you may find it a good time to start. If public speaking isn’t for you, you could reach out to a local publication or a reputable blog where you can share your story anonymously.
Join events or fundraisers
Celebrate and advocate by joining events or fundraisers. Look for events near you to join or volunteer with or create one yourself. This could simply be a get together for like minded people willing to learn and share stories, or elaborate events aimed at raising money for the cause. Reach out to local health associations to find out if they have any events happening.
Support groups can be a great way to connect with others. Everyone’s experience will be unique but it’s important to receive assurance that you are not alone. There is a lot of power in sharing your story and hearing others perspectives. You can also learn how others are managing illnesses through palliative care and share tips that might work for you.
Events for National Palliative Care Week
Between Sunday 22nd May and Saturday 28th May 2022 virtual and face-to-face events will be held across Australia to advocate, acknowledge and celebrate everyone within the palliative care sector.
The Living Well Dying Well Community Forum
“Living Well Dying Well, an initiative of the Archdiocese of Sydney, examines what it means to live well, and how this shapes dying well.”
The event held on Wednesday 25th May between 6.30 and 8.30pm at The Seminary of the Good Shepherd in New South Wales aims to provide a thought-provoking and informative evening exploring how the community can support those with serious and life-limiting illness and their families.
PCNSW Education Day
This event held on 27th May between 10am and 4pm at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park will be focusing on empowering each other and the people you are caring for, to access the best quality palliative care possible through quality speakers, learnings and networking opportunities.
Palliative Care Starts with an Advance Care Plan
Join the free webinar with Dr. Merran Cooper, Founder and CEO of Touchstone Life Care on May 26th between 7.30 and 8.15pm, as she shares why palliative care starts with an advance care plan, what an advance care plan is and how you can do one.
National Palliative Care Week 2022: It’s Your Right. Championing patients’ rights to living and dying well
Join the online live lecture on 26th May between 7.30 and 8.30pm to hear extensive experience and reflections on patients’ rights during palliative care from expert physiotherapists Rachel Coghlan and Susan Gravier.
PEPA Palliative Approach workshop
The Townsville Hospital Palliative Care Service is hosting this event on May 24th from 7.30am at Mercure, Townsville. The event is sponsored by the Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA). The CELC-T team will be attending to share some valuable resources surrounding palliative care, managing symptoms, case studies and building resilience.
Death Cafe by the Bay
Join Jacqui and others who are curious and interested in sharing stories, experiences and asking questions about death and dying at this face to face meeting on May 31st at the Victoria Point Library Lakeside meeting room.
“A Death Café is a safe and relaxed place to gather with people, often strangers, to discuss topics related to death and dying. The objective is to engage in interesting, thought-provoking and life-affirming conversations.”
Palliative Care Sector Morning Webinar: Palliative care for First Nations peoples
Join this free webinar for people who work in the palliative care sector and hear from experts working in palliative care in First Nations communities on May 25th between 7.30 and 8.30pm on Zoom.
PalliLearn Community Education Program
PalliLearn aims to build community knowledge, death literacy, compassion literacy and community capacity in relation to serious illness, dying, death and grief by providing quality and easy to understand courses.
Events surrounding Palliative care with PalliLearn are being held throughout National Palliative Care Week on the following subjects:
- What Matters Most to Me? (Queensland Event) | 25 May 6.00pm – 7.00pm
- How to have conversations about dying and grief (Queensland time) | 26 May 10.00am – 11.00am
- Talking to children about dying (Queensland event) | 26 May 11.30am – 12.30pm