With a focus on enhancing quality and access to critical support and treatment for individuals with life-limiting illnesses, this funding encompasses 14 National Palliative Care Projects. The announcement comes as National Palliative Care Week draws to a close, evoking enthusiasm from Camilla Rowland, Chief Executive Officer of Palliative Care Australia.
Valued at $53 million, this funding will enable universities, health services and palliative care organisations throughout Australia to expand upon their previous efforts. The projects primarily concentrate on enhancing education and training for primary care, acute care and aged care workforces, fostering greater expertise and awareness within the broader healthcare community.
By doing so, the aim is to enhance access to palliative care, resulting in an improved quality of life for individuals with life-limiting illnesses and better grief and bereavement outcomes for their loved ones.
Palliative Care Australia has also received funding to implement the ‘Shaping the Future of Paediatric Palliative Care’ project. Delighted by this development, Camilla Rowland acknowledges the extensive efforts of the PCA team in developing the Paediatric Palliative Care National Action Plan Project over the past three years, expressing excitement at the opportunity to execute key activities outlined within it.
“While growing those projects that will drive improvements in quality and access to palliative care, we also need to get Australians talking about and planning for end of life,” Rowland said. “This funding allows the sector to continue our work in raising awareness about advance care planning.”
In addition to the 14 national projects, an extra $15.9 million will be invested in the End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) program. ELDAC aims to enhance the capacity of aged care providers and general practitioners (GPs) caring for older Australians.
This initiative aligns with the recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission to embed palliative care in aged care services. ELDAC has already developed valuable resources in this regard and the allocated funds will support their continued implementation and uptake.
In total, $68 million in funding has been announced to drive these efforts.
This includes initiatives such as the Palliative Care Australia – Quality Access and Awareness, the Shaping the Future of Paediatric Palliative Care, Palliative Care Education and Training Collaborative, End of Life Law for Clinicians, Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration, The National Palliative Care Coordination Program: Enabling Coordination in Palliative Care in Australia, Advance Care Planning, caring@home, Quality of Care Collaborative Australia, CareSearch including PalliAGED, End of Life Essentials for Acute Hospitals and Clinicians, Palliative Care Pharmacist Foundation Training Program, CarerHelp: Rural Connect, Expanding Palliative Care ECHO, and End of Life Directions for Aged Care.
Acknowledging Minister Butler’s support for health professionals and volunteers, Camilla Rowland appreciates his visible commitment by wearing an orange heart in Parliament.
The funding announcement reflects the government’s dedication to healthcare reform, and Palliative Care Australia looks forward to collaborating with the Minister and his team to ensure palliative care remains a priority on their agenda.
The significance of this funding coincides with the recently concluded National Palliative Care Week, which encourages open conversations on matters of life and death while fostering awareness and recognition of those at the forefront of delivering quality palliative care. This funding, combined with other initiatives supported in the recent Budget, will contribute to improving access to palliative care services, including better Medicare access, improvements in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, expansion of the care workforce, and generational reforms in aged care.
Minister Butler emphasises the Australian Government’s commitment to providing comprehensive care to individuals affected by life-limiting illnesses. By assuming national leadership and focusing on education and policy in palliative care, the government’s endeavours align with the goals outlined in the National Palliative Care Strategy.
“Our role is to provide national leadership, education and policy in palliative care,” Butler said.