PALLIATIVE CARE WA is calling on the major political parties to make an election pledge to improve end-of-life care.
By funding community workshops in advance care planning and raising awareness with campaigns like 2019’s You Only Die Once, the state government can make people’s final days more bearable, says Palliative Care WA.
Aged care facility manager “Sarah” has seen first-hand the trauma residents and families go through with unwanted medical care.
“A recent example is Vincent, who was having treatment for bowel cancer,” she says.
“Vincent’s wife Joan was visiting when Vincent became unconscious. An ambulance was called.
“As Joan didn’t know her husband’s end-of-life wishes, CPR was started and continued for a considerable time. Vincent was taken to hospital but died in intensive care.
“Joan told me afterwards she felt traumatised by the attempted resuscitation and that she wished that she could have held Vincent’s hand and comforted him as he died.
“We now have regular advance care planning education sessions for staff, residents and family members.
“The feedback I often hear after these sessions is ‘It’s giving me peace of mind’”.
By 2032 Western Australians aged 65 and over will make up 16 per cent of the state’s population, and in WA regional areas this age group is expected to more than triple by 2026.
Palliative Care WA CEO Lana Glogowski says for a modest investment the state government has the opportunity to enable WA to once again be an Australian leader in Advance Care Planning.
“Advance Care Planning assists people to clarify their values and priorities and make decisions about their wishes for end-of-life, and it lessens the decision-making burden on family members during what can be a distressing time,” she says.
“Decision makers are nominated to act when people lose capacity, and it helps prepare for patient care discussions in hospital.
“Many of these people can experience vulnerability and exclusion including those with disabilities, residents in aged care, members of the LGBTIQ+ community, and those from culturally diverse backgrounds.”
For more info go to the website palliativecarewa.asn.au