Quality care to the end

A NEW survey has found that despite nearly two thirds of Australians saying they would turn to family first to make decisions about their end-of-life care, almost half think their families don't know what they want at the end of their life and more than a third think their final wishes may be ignored by relatives.

Most people want to die at home, provided they and their loved ones are supported by health and other services.

Gympie's Little Haven Palliative Care business manager Sue Manton said yesterday these issues were being "well addressed" in the Gympie region, where more than 800 terminally ill people have been cared for in their home since the organisation was established three decades ago.

"(Little Haven has been) providing professional nursing care, physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual support for both the patient and their families in their own homes at no cost," Ms Manton said.

"Our holistic service incorporates respite carers, free equipment loan, complementary therapies and bereavement support.

"I also believe that this community's understanding of palliative care and issues of death and dying is quite unique and largely due to the 30 years Little Haven has been active in this area and supported by this community in getting our service to where it is now. Our GPs are second to none and our region has embraced the need for quality end of life care."

Today is the last day of National Palliative Care Week and its recurring theme of "Let's Chat About Dying" is aimed at encouraging Australia's "death denying" society to open up to each other about end-of-life wishes.

"Last Saturday I attended a large public forum at the Sunshine Coast Your Death, Your Choice to launch Palliative Care Week, where our community's uniqueness was reinforced.

"Little Haven was acknowledged by palliative care leaders as the best model of care in the state. We may be 'little' but we certainly have a big reputation.

"This is due to a combination of outstanding nursing staff, volunteers and unprecedented community engagement and support."

Gympie Times

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