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Health professionals

Today, 14 October, is an annual day to celebrate the hospice and palliative care movement worldwide. This year’s theme advocates for “compassionate communities”. Compassionate communities is a health promotion approach to care, aiming to support community members throughout their life. An approach to care which has been successfully implemented in the Southwest Region of WA. For more information please follow this link.

Our Palliative and Supportive Care Education (PaSCE) team extend a thank you to all collaborators, supporters and participants of our courses, on this International World Hospice and Palliative Care Day.

Palliative care is often viewed as a taboo topic as it can signify death for many. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) definition for palliative care is; “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients (adults and children) and their families, who are facing problems associated with life-threatening illness. It prevents and relieves suffering through the early identification, correct assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, whether physical, psychosocial or spiritual”.

As you may be aware almost one in two Australians will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85. However, palliative care is for anyone with a life limiting illness. Cancer Council WA offer information for patients with metastatic cancer with a palliative diagnosis and those receiving palliative care.

Four facts that you didn’t know about Palliative Care:

  • Early implementation of palliative care improves quality of life of patients and caregivers.
  • Worldwide, only about 14% of people who need palliative care currently receive it.
  • Palliative care is tailored to each individual person. For some it may be supportive care with activities such as washing and dressing, for others it may be pain relief. Alternatively, for many it may be talking with relatives and friends.

Our team is the recognised provider of palliative and supportive care education across Western Australia, by the Department of Health. We provide free and subsidised education for all health professionals and palliative care volunteers across our state.

Our team of health professional facilitators share a variety of evidence-based tools, research and information to assist health professionals from metro, regional and remote areas across the state with implementation and understanding of a palliative approach to care for patients with a life limiting illness.

We provide online and face to face education that is tailored to the role of the participants such as GPs, palliative care volunteers, allied health professionals, nurses, medical staff and Aboriginal health workers to name a few.

Our communication courses use immersive simulation-based education to enhance experiences for the end user, such as breaking bad news, eliciting and responding to emotional cues and goals of care conversations.

We provide professional development education around spiritual care, spotlight on research, principles and practices of palliative care and mindfulness for health professionals.

Our website provides free access to programs such as RACEPC Communicate (for a residential aged care specific audience), where we provide placements for health professionals and carers through PEPA (Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach) WA and offer scholarship opportunities to pursue further study in this area. For more course information please see our website PaSCE WA.

Thankfully in WA we work with our 13 11 20 nurses and peak bodies, such as Palliative Care Western Australia (PCWA), who provide community education and resources to help health professionals navigate both patient and carer questions. They have helpful resources online, through their telephone service and can be found here.

With an Aging population our community need for palliative and hospice care will only grow in WA. In WA there are four hospice’s; Albany Community Hospice, Bethesda Hospice, Busselton Hospice Care Inc. and St John of God Murdoch. However, many tertiary centres also offer palliative care. Palliative care can be provided at home, in the community or within a hospital or hospice (for end-of-life care).

For more information

  • To mark the significance of today, our team is launching our podcast entitled Keeping up with the PaSCE, where we interview Cancer Council WA CEO, Ashley Reid. We will be discussing hospice care and what it means to our West Australian community from its inception to now. Listen to the podcast.