PALLIATIVE Care Tasmania is continuing to deliver strong results as the peak body for the palliative care sector.
Labor Senator Catryna Bilyk met recently with the organisation’s chief executive officer, Colleen Johnstone, for an update on its activities two years after the Senator successfully campaigned to save the organisation from closure.
Ms Johnstone reported that since it had started receiving funding through the Better Access to Palliative Care program, Palliative Care Tasmania had reached 25,000 to 30,000 people with its community education programs covering death, dying, grief and bereavement.
Palliative Care Tasmania had also taken the lead on organising and implementing the Palliative Care Community Charter, an agreement on the principles of palliative care between service providers and the Tasmanian community, including the Aboriginal community and people from a diverse range of cultures and social groups.
In 2016, Palliative Care Tasmania’s funding was not renewed, and they struggled to survive on reserve funds for the next 12 months.
Senator Bilyk organised a petition, wrote to the Federal Minister for Health, moved a motion in the Senate calling on the Government to extend Palliative Care Tasmania’s funding and delivered several speeches in Parliament about the issue.
After a year of campaigning, the organisation finally received a further three-year funding agreement.
“Having a strong, active peak body is vital to ensuring the policies, education, training and advocacy is available for the palliative care sector to deliver the services people with life-limiting illness need,” Senator Bilyk said.
“It is not well understood that palliative care is more than just health care, but also addresses a patient’s emotional, psychological and spiritual needs.
“Unfortunately, many Australians are failing to plan for their end-of-life care or discuss their wishes with loved ones.
“As a result, their end-of-life experiences are not in accordance with their wishes.
“The work of organisations like Palliative Care Tasmania, with the sector and in the wider community, is vital to turning this around.”
Caption: Palliative Care Tasmania chief executive officer Colleen Johnstone, left, with Senator Catryna Bilyk.