Palliative care roundtable focuses on regional services

The future of palliative care services in the Mid North Coast region will be discussed at a roundtable in Kempsey on May 15 to better tailor end-of-life care in regional areas.

Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey and Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health, Leslie Williams will host talks with health professionals and stakeholders from across the region.

About 50,000 people die each year in NSW and the figure will double by 2056. Palliative care manages pain and other distressing symptoms for people approaching the end of their lives. 

Parliamentary Secretary Leslie Williams, a former registered nurse who worked in palliative care, said we need to ensure people have more choice to die with dignity.

“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.

“As a community, 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.”

The government has provided substantial palliative care support to the Mid North Coast Local Health District, including:

  • 35 full-time equivalent staff, including a palliative care staff specialist, a nurse practitioner who provides outreach services, and social workers.
  • Two registrars funded by the Health Education and Training Institute.
  • Additional nursing and allied health staff who support palliative care patients.
  • A dedicated eight-bed Palliative Care Unit at Wauchope Hospital, staffed by a Nursing Unit Manager, nurses and a GP visiting medical officer.
  • After-hours Last Days of Life care provided by a collaborative partnership with non-government organisation Silver Chain.
  • An outreach medical staff specialist fly-in visiting service provided once a month under the Rural Health Outreach Service partnership.

Kempsey is the third of nine roundtables being held throughout regional NSW.

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