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25 May 2017
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Good morning and thank you for your kind introduction
Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet today, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people.
I extend my respects to Elders past, present and future and to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here this morning.
I also acknowledge:
- Flinders University for hosting this event;
- CareSearch Director, Associate Professor Jennifer Tieman;
- Palliative Care Australia CEO, Liz Callaghan;
- Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement, CEO, Christopher Hall;
- Carers Australia CEO, Ara Cresswell; and
- Calvary Health Care CEO, Jane Fischer.
Thank you for inviting me.
What could be more appropriate during Palliative Care Week than to launch this important online resource?
I’m delighted that the Australian Government could help bring such a worthwhile project to fruition.
And I congratulate Flinders University in conjunction with CareSearch for their part in making this new resource possible.
The Government is committed to quality care for our older Australians – particularly when it comes to caring for them in the concluding stages of their lives.
POPULATION GROWING AND AGEING
The need for appropriate end-of-life care and palliative care support is important given that Australia’s population is both growing and ageing.
Last year, 15 per cent of the Australian population, or 3.7 million people were aged 65 and over.
The number of people who will die each year will rise substantially over the next 50 years.
The proportion of older Australians is expected to grow—to 22 per cent or 8.7 million people by 2056 and to 24 per cent or 12.8 million by 2096.
And more people will die due to chronic progressive diseases such as dementia.
This increases the need for an end-of-life care system that meets the needs and expectations of individuals, their families and the clinicians that look after them.
However, quality of care at the end of life is highly variable.
For most people entering a residential aged care facility, it will be their last home, making end of life care a very important part of planning their care needs.
Did you know:
- over 62 per cent of Australians are clients of an aged care program when they die; and that
- 70 per cent of people prefer to die at home; and
- today only about 14 per cent of people die at home, 54 per cent die in hospitals and 32 per cent in residential care .
The new palliAGED website is both timely and hugely beneficial, because care for older people is becoming ever more important as the older Australian population grows in number.
We are seeing that Australians are living longer and healthier lives.
When needed though, good palliative care provides comfort and compassion for patients and their families.
HOW WILL THE THE NEW RESOURCE HELP
So, with the arrival during Palliative Care Week of the new palliAGED online resource, we celebrate the lives of those we care.
palliAGED collects under one umbrella a wide range of very important research evidence, including:
- new medications;
- clinical decision making tools;
- models of care;
- but more importantly, ways to support patients and their families;
This site will provide access to resources for health professionals, aged care staff, family and friends…
…assisting them with the best possible information and care for people at the end stage of life.
The evidence based data that palliAGED will assemble, the guidance it will provide, and the practical resources it will offer, is immense.
Management of the palliAGED resource is in the very good hands of CareSearch at Flinders University, a knowledge network for patients and their families, health practitioners and carers alike.
It’s my privilege to launch this electronic storehouse.
And I believe that in the years to come, the palliAGED website will prove of immense value to the range of professions across the palliative care sector—and to those they care for.