Now is the right time for that difficult conversation

Registered nurse Zahira Torres writes a good will message on paper hearts as part of National Palliative Care Week at Mount Druitt Hospital. 

Don’t delay planning for the inevitable – now is the right time to have a difficult conversation about death and dying.

That’s the message across Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) this week as hospitals host community information sessions for National Palliative Care Week (19-25 May).

The theme for this year is What matters most?, where people were encouraged to talk with their loved ones about their own priorities for end of life care.

There is a lot of mystification about what palliative care and end of life care is, according to WSLHD Supportive and Palliative Medicine director Dr Sally Greenaway.

Left to right: Mount Druitt Hospital’s Tallowood Centre volunteer Lelane Gonzales, WSLHD Palliative and Supportive Care volunteer coordinator Kylie Clark,  Palliative and Supportive care volunteers Mary Vincent, Anne Goncalves, Serap Boyali, Palliative Care nurse educator Anne May, Palliative and Supportive Care volunteers Claudia Perez and Angie Vista. 

“I think there are a lot of people too frightened to think about the fact that life is finite and feel that if they ignore it, it will all go away,” said Sally. 

“As much as we don’t like to think about it – we will all die one day. National Palliative Care Week is a good time to reflect on what matters most to us – now , but also if our time was short.

“We should share our thoughts with those who love us.

“Think about how much medical intervention would you want if you could not get better – and if a choice exists, how and where would you like to live and cared for during your last illness, and at the end. The people who love you most need to know this. Share your thoughts!

Westmead Hospital director of nursing and midwifery Kate Hackett, WSLHD Integrated & Community Health director of nursing Jennifer Fitzsimons, Jeeyoun Jun, WSLHD Integrated & Community Health program manager social impact investment Jeeyoun Jun and WSLHD Executive director of nursing and midwifery Danielle Levis. 

“National Palliative Care Week is the right time to have these difficult conversations with your loved ones and healthcare professionals.”

Members of the community are encouraged to attend information sessions and speak with our professional, dedicated staff about what is palliative and supportive care. 

Community and staff leave heart warming sentiments. 

Hospital session details are:

22 May from 10am – 1pm – Main hospital foyer at Auburn Hospital  

23 May from 10am – 1pm – Main hospital foyer at Blacktown Hospital

24 May from 10am – 1pm – Main hospital foyer at Westmead Hospital

For further information about National Palliative Care Week, visit:

Mount Druitt Hospital celebrates National Palliative Care Week with Supportive Care volunteer Anne Goncalves and End of Life clinical nurse consultant Daniela Vasquez. 

In July 2017, the Silver Chain Community Palliative Care Service was implemented in Western Sydney Local Health District under a partnership agreement with the Ministry of Health as part of a Social Impact Investment. 

The Silver Chain service provides community based care for patients and their families who choose to be supported at home by providing; clinical care, assistance with daily living, respite care, bereavement and in-home support 24 hours, seven days a week.  

Westmead Hospital volunteers Rosalie Murciano, Roxana Jensen, Westmead and Auburn Hospitals general manager Brett Thompson, Westmead Hospital volunteer Stephen Thomas, WSLHD Palliative and Supportive Care volunteer coordinator Kylie Clark. 

For more information about the Silver Chain service visit: