People generally do not like to talk about death and dying. The topic can make people uncomfortable, sad, scared, and can be confronting as it makes us think about our own mortality. But death is part of life and affects everyone. To have the best death possible we need to plan and prepare for it. We also need to allow those we love and care for, who are experiencing end of life or terminal illness, to have a voice and be able to express their feelings and thoughts, and, most importantly, let us know how we can best support their wishes. Off course, cultural norms and values must be respected, and the cues must come from the terminally ill person as to whether these conversations are appropriate for them.
During National Palliative Care Week, Palliative Care Australia (PCA) is encouraging Australians to break the last taboo and talk about dying – it won’t kill you.
PCA wants to normalise death and dying. To do this Australians need to feel more comfortable talking about what their wishes and needs are as they approach end of life. Australians need to be comfortable and confident to ask for the care they want. For more information and to find our about event to be held this week visit http://www.palliativecare.org.au/…/NationalPalliativeCareWe…
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is defined by the World Health Organisation as: an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. Palliative care:
provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms;
affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
intends neither to hasten or postpone death;
integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
offers a support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and in their own bereavement;
uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counselling, if indicated;
will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness;
is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications.(http://www.health.gov.au/palliativecare)
Vital Health Psychologists provide psychological support to people experiencing chronic and terminal illness and grief and bereavement counselling. Call 9545 6939 to make an appointment.