Leading seniors advocacy body, COTA Australia, is joining forces with a number of peak aged care and palliative care bodies to call for an improvement in access to high quality palliative and end-of-life care in aged care facilities.
National Palliative Care Week aims to promote awareness and understanding about palliative care in the Australian community and address issues of access in different settings.
In 2017 National Palliative Care Week (21-28 May) is focused on aged care, with the theme ‘You matter, your care matters. Palliative care can make a difference’.
COTA Australia CEO, Ian Yates, said a holistic and tailored approach to palliative care is crucial within the context of recent changes to the aged care service landscape.
“The principles to guide the delivery of palliative and end-of-life care services in residential aged care. endorsed and launched today by the peak bodies reflect a shared commitment to ensuring that people who are approaching the end of their lives in residential aged care services have the best death possible and can live life to the fullest with dignity and in comfort.
“Importantly, the principles also recognise the contributions of all those involved in the delivery of palliative and end-of-life care and the need to support aged care residents, families and carers through all stages of the illness and in bereavement.
“Palliative care is unarguably one of the most important services delivered by the aged care industry and vital to protecting the quality of life of older Australians as their lives draw to an end.
“However we know that around 75 per cent of people aged over 65 years who die in Australia use aged care services in the 12 months before their death, yet relatively few access palliative care.
“Older Australians and their carers now have more choice and control over the services they receive, and this obviously should extend to include palliative care.
“Each and every Australian deserves access to the highest quality palliative and end-of-life care, whether this be delivered in a residential aged care facility or in their home.
“While death and dying is an extremely personal matter there is still a substantial amount of work that needs to be done to ensure that the process is properly and equitably supported by the availability of palliative care in all forms of aged care.”
For more information on National Palliative Care Week, visit palliativecare.org.au
Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Peter Stahel 0408 584 439
COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.