A national action plan launched today will improve the quality and availability of palliative care for infants, children and young people with a life-limiting illness.
The first Paediatric Palliative Care National Action Plan was developed by Palliative Care Australia and Paediatric Palliative Care Australia and New Zealand.
Paediatric palliative care helps to improve the quality of life for an infant, child or young person diagnosed with a life-limiting condition, and support those who care for them.
The action plan outlines a national approach to paediatric palliative care with four high-level priorities – quality; access; information sharing and collaboration; and data and research.
It aims to ensure the families and carers of infants and children with a life-limiting condition, understand their palliative care options and receive the information and care they need.
Importantly, the action plan provides an outline to all governments, key stakeholder organisations, our health services and all health workers involved in the provision of paediatric palliative care, to use this action plan to take steps to improve access to quality paediatric palliative care for the children in our lives.
To support the implementation of the plan and raise community awareness of the benefits of paediatric palliative care, the Australian Government is providing $1.25 million over three years (from 2023–24) to Palliative Care Australia to progress this important work.
This funding will be used to raise awareness of the benefits of paediatric palliative care, develop and disseminate important educational resources, develop new training modules for our health workers providing paediatric palliative care and reviewing referral pathways, to further enhance timely access to this vitally important care for our children and their families.
Consumers, health professionals, the palliative care sector and federal, state and territory governments were extensively consulted as the plan was drafted.
Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney MP:
“When an infant or child is diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, it is an enormously tough time for the child and their families and loved ones.
“Specialist paediatric palliative care services give professional, timely and compassionate care, which provide great support for everyone involved.
“The national action plan will help people to understand that paediatric palliative care isn’t all about dying, it’s about making each precious moment of life as good as it can be.”