Palliative care survey for NSW people to have their say

Palliative care unit nursing manager Mary Trotter and Rural Health Secretary Leslie Williams.
Palliative care unit nursing manager Mary Trotter and Rural Health Secretary Leslie Williams.

The NSW community is being asked to participate in a palliative care survey to ensure everyone receives the support and services they deserve at the end of life. Minister for Health Brad Hazzard and Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health Leslie Williams released a consultation paper based on feedback from community roundtables held across NSW earlier this year.

Mr Hazzard said providing quality palliative care services to every resident of NSW is a key priority for the NSW Government.

“We are investing an extra $100 million over the next four years to provide more tailored, community-based palliative care services, on top of the approximately $210 million already spent each year,” Mr Hazzard said.

“We are listening carefully to the community’s views on where and how palliative care services can be improved so that we have a strong plan for the future.”

Wauchope palliative care unit volunteer Jill Drury brings this reverie harp to patients to soothe them.

Wauchope palliative care unit volunteer Jill Drury brings this reverie harp to patients to soothe them.

Mrs Williams said the consultation paper and feedback from the survey will inform a new palliative and end-of-life care policy in NSW.

“Getting the public’s feedback on palliative care priorities is vital if we are to produce better outcomes for everyone when the inevitable occurs,” Mrs Williams said.

“The survey will only take about 10 minutes so I strongly urge everyone to take this opportunity to have their say.”

The NSW Health Palliative Care Roundtables Consultation Paper and survey can be viewed at www.health.nsw.gov.au/palliativecare

During a visit to the Wauchope Hospital palliative care unit on Friday November 10, volunteer Jill Drury showed Leslie Williams an instrument called a reverie harp, which she uses with patients.

“It’s designed to bring comfort and peace, and you don’t need any musical training to pluck the strings and feel soothed,” she said.

Mrs Williams paid tribute to the palliative care staff and the volunteers.  Palliative care unit nursing manager Mary Trotter said that family members often come back to the unit, when they’re ready, to spend some quiet time, remembering their loved one.

Ms Trotter said they have just eight beds, but they would love to have more, because when they have full occupancy, patients in Port Base Hospital are on a waiting list to get to Wauchope.

Dr Nick Hirst said the unit was a fantastic place to work because you get to address people’s immediate needs.

Each bedroom has a wall where patients can pin photos of their loved ones, and their pets, and the animals are allowed to visit.  One lady even got wheeled outside to feed apples and carrots to her horse.