By Yasmin Noone

Thousands of people around the country and across the world will be able to receive almost four hours worth of palliative care education, for free, by tuning into a national Palliative Care Australia (PCA) education forum streamed lived, online, straight from the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra, on Tuesday 22 May.

The one-day education forum – part of the consumer group’s National Palliative Care Week official launch event next week – will examine how the sector can deliver the best quality care for patients, their families and carers at the end-of-life.

Two sessions from PCA’s education day entitled It’s not just about dying will be streamed live to registered webinar participants.

The first session will be an interactive panel discussion, Dying isn’t the point, webcast online from 9.30 to 11am.

Facilitated by host of the ABC Radio National’s Health Report, Dr Norman Swan, the discussion will feature a panel of experts and a consumer who will all discuss end-of-life care matters and answer palliative care questions sent in by members of the public.

CEO of PCA, Dr Yvonne Luxford, stressed the importance of having consumer representation on the panel.

“We think it’s really important to hear the consumer’s voice,” Dr Luxford said.

“It’s all about patient-centred care. That’s the whole focus of what we are doing. It’s important to remember that with palliative care services, consumers are not just patients with a terminal illness but the whole family and other loved ones.”

The webinar will resume at 11.30am, after a short break, with three separate palliative care presentations, Show me the money!,Aged care and eHealth, and Will I be sued for carrying out a patient’s wishes?

Dr Luxford said the webinar is a great option for those who are interested in learning more about palliative care practices but are unable to attend the actual education day in Canberra.

“I think this webinar presents a great opportunity for people to get their questions answered and to engage in a conversation around end-of-life care,” Dr Luxford said.

“It might be very difficult for people from around the country to come to Canberra for a meeting so this is a different way for people to engage in the day without having to be there in person.

“We are also really trying to reach out to health care professionals and others who might not know that much about palliative care, or who think they know a lot but are actually talking about end-of-life care.”

The education forum will follow on from a special breakfast, also held in the Great Hall at Parliament from 7- 9am, on the same day.

‘Futurologist’ Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite, foundation director of the Australian Institute for Health Innovation will be the keynote speaker at the breakfast and will present on ‘The future of healthcare in Australia- where will palliative care fit in?

National Palliative Care Week officially runs from Sunday 20 May to Saturday 26 May. This year’s theme, Some things are too important to be left unsaid…let’s chat about dying, aims to encourage Australians to talk about their end-of-life care needs and wishes.

“Palliative care is not just about dying,” Dr Luxford said.

” And it’s not just about the last 72 hours of life but, in fact, a longer holistic approach to [managing a terminal illness].

“…There is a lot of confusion about this, especially in aged care.”

To attend the live-steeaming, email gretchen@palliativecare.org.au for log in details Monday 21 May.

To attend either the breakfast or education forum, register before close of business on Thursday 16 May by clicking here.

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