Palliative Care Australia and the Royal Flying Doctor Service are partnering to help raise awareness of the importance of advance care planning among older rural and remote Australians.

The project will use PCA’s Dying to Talk resources in RFDS primary care clinics in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and South Australia to facilitate conversations about end-of-life between RFDS health professionals and their patients.

PCA CEO Liz Callaghan said the project would explore how the use of an app affects a person’s willingness to discuss their wishes and put in place plans for their future care.

“By using the Dying to Talk discussion cards, people will be able to work out what’s most important to them,” she said.

“We know that four out of five Australians think it’s important to discuss their end-of-life care wishes, but only one in five has had the conversation,” said Ms Callaghan.

RFDS CEO Martin Laverty said the project would assist patients, families and clinicians to plan for the future, especially for people who are over 65 or have chronic illnesses.

“Growing old happens to everyone – regardless of where they live. In cities the provision of end-of-life care is well catered for, but it is not so easy in the bush. Problems of distance and access to specialist services are never easy and managing a patient requiring aged or palliative care within rural and remote areas can be difficult.”

The project is supported by a grant from the Dementia and Aged Care Services Fund and will be completed by December 2019.

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