By Genevieve Waldie
National Palliative Care week (24 – 30 May) has kicked off this week aiming to raise awareness and understanding of the many benefits of palliative care.
The theme “ Palliative Care – it’s more than you think” encourages Australians to think, listen and talk about what palliative care involves.
There are still many misconceptions within the community about what palliative care is – with many people believing it only refers to end-of-life care.
Launching via video broadcast, patron of Palliative Care Australia, the Governor-General, David Hurley, explained that National Palliative Care Week 2020 is about broadening Australians’ understanding of palliative care.
PCA Board Chair, Professor Meera Agar said National Palliative Care Week presents an opportunity to highlight the scope of palliative care.
“One of the great myths about palliative care is that it is only a synonym for end-of-life care. It is so much more than that,” said Professor Agar.
“Palliative care is about positive conversations and rapidly mobilising the support needed to manage physical symptoms, provide emotional and psychological support, and put in train the plan of care, which allows the person to meet their goals.”
Palliative care is for people of any age who have been told that they have a serious illness that cannot be cured.
The primary goal is to optimise the quality of life and the care model is person and family centred.
Palliative care assists people with illnesses such as cancer, motor neurone disease and end-stage kidney or lung disease to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.
The treatment can be initiated at any time from diagnosis with a serious life-limiting illness, and contrary to common misconception, it can be given alongside treatments given by other doctors.
“Palliative care serves both the patient and their family, and the support continues even after the patient has died, helping loved ones to cope with their grief and bereavement, ” Mr Hurley said.
PCA CEO Mr Rohan Greenland invited Australians to get involved in National Palliative Care Week by participating in the series of virtual events scheduled.
“We encourage the community to get involved and join these important conversations about palliative care.”
For more information, visit