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Living Well With Chronic Illness was the theme for National Palliative Care Week in May 2016.
National Palliative Care Week is an initiative of Palliative Care Australia supported by the Department of Health and aims to raise awareness and understanding about palliative care in the Australian community.
In 2014, Alzheimer’s Australia surveyed care professionals and family carers in order to highlight the sharp differences in perceptions about access to quality end-of-life and palliative care.
In the 2014 survey, most care professionals indicated that people with dementia can access palliative care services within their care setting, but consumers reported that they struggle to get access to the appropriate end-of-life care with 58% of family carers stating that the person with dementia did not have access to palliative care specialists. It highlighted that 68% lack access to hospice care and only 49% had support available in the community at end-of-life.
There are an estimated 353,800 Australians living with dementia2. This figure is expected to rise to almost 1 million people by 2050. 3 With dementia being the second leading cause of death in Australia, it is one of the leading chronic conditions.
Palliative Care Australia is urging that anyone with a terminal chronic illness to discuss their end-of-life wishes with their loved ones and their doctors.
Talking about end-of-life care can be difficult, but there are many options available to help people start the dialogue about end-of-life.
Start2Talk is a national resource that was developed by Alzheimer’s Australia with the support of Palliative Care Australia, the Consumers Health Forum, Carers Australia, the Council on the Aging, National Seniors and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
'Talking about dying won’t kill you' is a Discussion step-by-step guide to help people talk about their end-of-life care wishes and is available at Dying to Talk.
1 Talking about dying, won’t kill anyone (2016). Media release by Palliative Care Australia
2 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Dementia in Australia. Reported by Alzheimer’s Australia.
3 Access Economics (2009) Keeping Dementia Front of Mind: Incidence and prevalence 2009-2050. Report for Alzheimer’s Australia.