Search for improved palliative care at Kempsey roundtable

BRAINSTORMING: (from left) Dr Daniel Curley, Leslie Williams, Melinda Pavey and Stewart Dowrick at the Slim Dusty Centre yesterday
BRAINSTORMING: (from left) Dr Daniel Curley, Leslie Williams, Melinda Pavey and Stewart Dowrick at the Slim Dusty Centre yesterday

Round table talks held in Kempsey on Monday will determine the trajectory of palliative care on the Mid North Coast.

Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey and Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health, Leslie Williams, hosted health professionals and various stakeholders from across the region.

The conversation hopes to uncover gaps in the current palliative care model, prioritise areas that require improvement and suggest solutions to address any shortcomings.

Mrs Williams was looking forward to hearing from the consumers, public health representatives, private health agencies, as well as people from outside the system who were in attendance.

“More than half of all deaths in Australia occur in hospitals, though many people indicate at various stages of their lives that they would prefer to die at home,” Mrs Williams said.

“We need to have a more open discussion about how to better support the physical, personal, social and spiritual needs of people as death approaches.

“Each local health district is starting at a different place.

“At the metro round table and the regional conferences already held, people certainly talked openly and honestly about positive programs and also about what is missing.

“We went to ensure everybody going through palliation has the best access to services and that includes carers, patients and their families.”

Dr Daniel Curley of Coffs’ Clinical Network hopes the main outcome of the meeting will be the strengthening of the model in a number of areas to ensure a sufficiently robust solely palliative care system.

“Palliative care is not an end-of-life service,” Dr Curley said.

“People can receive palliative care for many years, and can go on and off palliative care throughout, depending on their health at any given time. 

“Building a sustainable workforce has to be a priority and ensuring regions link in with other regions.

“Workers in regional areas face significant burnout risk.

“Sustainability is what’s needed to keep people in their homes. The Mid North Coast has one of the best home death rates in the State at around 50 per cent.”