Our priorities are to:
- Make palliative care a state health priority.
- $24.5 million-a-year recurrent funding that will increase access to palliative care services
- $14 million a year on properly designed community palliative care, which will give an additional 5600 people the choice to die where they wish, including at home
- Increasing palliative care services to provide access 24/7.
- Integrating palliative care into chronic care pathways with $6 million a year allocated to this initiative.
- $400,000 has been allocated per year to keep people informed about palliative care services available to them.
The Access to appropriate pain management and being surrounded by family are most important to people who are dying. South Australians deserve to die with dignity and be surrounded by the people they love.
Palliative care is not just about pain and symptom management, it is about providing meaningful social, spiritual and emotional support for families and patients.
Their end-of-life journey will likely be punctuated with avoidable or unwanted admissions to hospital with the confusion, loss of dignity and loss of control that comes with it.
Palliative Care in South Australia has been ignored by the major parties for too long. Currently, it’s in the worst state it’s been since 1980, when it was first implemented into the SA health system.
Palliative Care Australia estimates that while 70 per cent of Australians wish to die at home, only around 14 per cent do so.
The Productivity Commission released its Draft Report into Human Services released in June 2017 specifically considering palliative care services and which stated: “Each year, tens of thousands of people who are approaching the end of life are cared for and die in a place that does not reflect their choice or fully meet their end of life care needs”.
Most people who die, do so in two of the least preferred places — hospitals and residential aged care.
The Productivity Commission’s report argued that:
- More community based palliative care services are needed to enable more people who wish to die at home to do so.
- End of life care in residential aged care needed to be better resourced and delivered by skilled staff, so that its quality aligns with that available to other Australians.
- There are just 213 palliative medical specialists across Australia.
The sums spent would mean fewer acute care hospital beds being occupied by end stage palliative patients, leading to more efficient use of health resources and significant savings in the health system that would be equal to or exceed the money allocated to Nick Xenophon’s SA-BEST’s palliative care initiatives.
Below is Tracey Watters, Chief Executive Officer for Palliative Care South Australia, discussing the importance of Palliative Care in South Australia: