Palliative Care Queensland

Patient wishes essential for good end of life care

Recognising the wishes of the patient is essential in providing good end of life care and Palliative Care Queensland (PCQ) welcomes the government’s acknowledgement of this in its new strategies released today.

PCQ President Dr Julia Wootton said supporting Queenslanders to think about their wishes and discuss them with their family was a key message in National Palliative Care Week.

“This year we are encouraging all Australians to talk about dying. It’s only by talking about what we want as we die that we enable our loved ones to become our advocates and ensure we get that standard of care we desire,” Dr Wootton said.

“The Charter for care of adult patients at the end of life and the state wide strategy for end-of-life care both provide guidelines that if properly implemented will support patient care.

“The focus on community awareness as a priority, improving access to educational opportunities and training for all healthcare professionals in end-of-life decision making is extremely welcome.

“The Health Minister has developed comprehensive documents that put patients at the centre of care and the priority for all the health care workers. This is important.

“A survey released by Palliative Care Australia yesterday showed that those Australians who were worried about the level of care their dying loved ones had received were mostly concerned about choices not being recognised.

“Around a third (31%) said they were unhappy or ambivalent about the care their loved one received and of those who identified problems with care, women were most concerned about patients choosing where they die (26%), while men raised pain management as an issue (27%).

“We know that the number of older people who will need end of life care is only going to increase. We are also aware that baby boomers are reaching their older years and will have very clear demands on the health system to care for them. It’s important that we, as a state, are prepared for that.

“This is a good start to the discussion about further enhancing our palliative care services and the opportunity we have to be the leading state in caring for older Australians as they come to the end of their lives. We only have one chance to get death right for all Australians, it is very important we remain committed to that cause,” Dr Wootton said.

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