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29th August 2018

Last night a packed room of representatives from the palliative care sector welcomed the release of the WA Parliament Select Committee End of Life Choices Report at a forum, hosted by Palliative Care WA, to understand and discuss the findings and recommendations.

Guest speaker, Ms Amber-Jade Sanderson, MLA and Chair of the Committee gave the audience an overview of the key findings and recommendations of the report.  Ms Sanderson urged the sector to collectively approach the Government to increase funding and provider clearer policy direction.

The sector heard initial reactions to the report from a diverse panel of sector representatives.  Overwhelmingly, the panel welcomed the findings of the report.

There was clear endorsement for the report from attendees.  Ms Lana Glogowski, Executive Officer of Palliative Care WA said “Palliative Care WA has a lead role in moving this report forward and will facilitate further opportunities for the sector to come together to help prioritise the recommendations and push for implementation.”  Tish Morrison, Director of Clinical Operations, Palliative Care, Silver Chain WA urged the group to work collectively “we should name our priorities and collectively use our energy to change”.

Key findings from the report that were applauded and agreed included:

  • The inadequacy of current services, particularly in rural and remote areas and the need for increased palliative care services.
  • The need for health care providers to be better educated, particularly regarding the rights under statutory law of patients regarding end of life care decisions.
  • The need for an urgent review of the current statutory documentation and establishment of a central electronic registry making Advance Health Directives easy to store and find. Dr Derek Eng, a palliative care physician said “hopefully this will ensure that Advance Health Directives are completed, we can find them and we can interpret them”.
  • The need for comprehensive education for consumers on advance care planning recognising that often these discussions are happening too late. Dr Scott Blackwell said “In our practice we try to bring advance care planning to the front of our process; when we first talk to patients and their families.”  He said:  “this is absolute gold if we have the advance care planning discussion up front so we have an understanding of the wishes of that person and their family.  Our final KPI is that the family grieves well afterwards”.