$57 million boost for palliative care

28 May 2020

The Federal Government has, during National Palliative Care Week, announced it will provide $57.2 million to improve palliative care in aged care facilities in a deal that requires the states and territories to match funding provided by the Commonwealth.

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the Commonwealth has so far committed $3.8 million to South Australia, $900,000 to the Australian Capital Territory, $5.7 million to Western Australia and $400,000 to the Northern Territory under signed agreements with those governments.

Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck said the funding would help reduce emotional and physical distress for residents nearing end of life and their families.

“This funding will help reinforce the measures in place provide a high level of care during what can be a tremendously difficult time,” he said.

In-principal agreements are in place for the remaining states.

Australian Medical Association president Dr Tony Bartone paid tribute to palliative care workers, saying they were “caring for patients with respect and compassion, and doing their best to support families”.

“Palliative care can help people with life-limiting illnesses to live as well as possible, for as long as possible, by managing pain and symptoms to ensure quality of life is maintained,” he was quoted by AAA.

ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adj. Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM said additional palliative care funding is always welcome “BUT the biggest hurdle to palliative care for older people is the inadequacy of current staffing levels and skills mix in aged care, along with inadequate education and training for end-of-life and palliative care.

“Extra funding will be needed to help address these issues.’’

Joint patrons of Palliative Care Australia, the Governor-General David Hurley and Linda Hurley officially launched National Palliative Care Week 2020 on Sunday, which runs from May 24 to May 30.

More information about National Palliative Care Week can be found at:  palliativecare.org.au/national-palliative-care-week-2020