From 22 to 28 May, Toowoomba Hospital palliative care staff are highlighting the ways in which palliative care can help to provide a better quality of life.
â€œThis week is National Palliative Care Week and the theme is â€˜Living Well with Chronic Illnessâ€™,â€ Dr Patty Lee-Apostol, palliative care physician at Toowoomba Hospital, said. â€œWe want to let people know that early access to palliative care for patients in the advanced stages of their chronic illnesses can help improve their quality of life. â€œThere is a common misconception that palliative care is only available to cancer patients.”
â€œWe want to encourage people to talk with their family about end-of-life care. While 82 per cent of Australians agree that itâ€™s an important thing to discuss, only 28 per cent have actually taken the step to formalise these discussions. It can be a difficult thing to talk about, but doing so means patients can have an active input into how they would like to receive end-of-life treatment, which helps us to provide the best level of care possible, in accordance with the patientâ€™s wishes.â€
Andrea Barber, nurse unit manager of the Regional Cancer Centre at Toowoomba Hospital, said a dedicated team was on hand to help patients and their families with end-of-life care. â€œPalliative care is a specialised area of treatment, so we are very proud of the team we have to provide help and support,â€ Ms Barber said.
â€œIn addition to our palliative care physician, Dr Patty Lee-Apostol, we have a palliative care clinical nurse consultant, specialised clinical nurses and a dedicated allied health team comprised of social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, dieticians and speech pathologists.
â€œOur nurses need a particular skill set so we also have a clinical facilitator to provide training which equips our nurses to give the best possible evidence-based, end-of-life care. This means when a person comes to Toowoomba Hospital they not only get expert medical and nursing care they also get expert care right across the multidisciplinary spectrum.â€
As part of the palliative care week, staff are also taking part in lectures with other doctors, GPs and community health providers with a focus on advanced health care planning and related palliative care topics.
Media, Communication and Engagement team
Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service