“Live your best life no matter what” is the message this Palliative Care Week in western Sydney

This week across the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD), visitors, staff and volunteers are being asked to express what they believe their ‘rights’ to be in receiving palliative care by writing on paper hearts what they would want if they were facing their end of life.

At Westmead Hospital on Tuesday, 24 May, WSLHD Buddhist Chaplain, Don Yasalal, wrote that he would like “to be in a calm and quiet room” when his time comes.

The theme of National Palliative Care Week this year is ‘It’s your Right’, a sentiment that was reiterated this week by WSLHD director of Supportive and Palliative Medicine, Dr Sally Greenaway.

“Palliative Care is about living your best life no matter what,” said Sally.

“One of the great myths about palliative care is that it is only end-of-life care, but it is so much more than that; anyone with a life-limiting illness has the right to live as well as possible, for as long as possible.”

National Palliative Care Week, 22 to 28 May 2022, is Australia’s largest annual awareness-raising initiative held to increase understanding of the many benefits of palliative care.

Access to timely palliative care allows people with a life-limiting illness to keep doing what they love with friends and family.

Palliative care is also about supporting the loved ones of those approaching end of life by helping them to live through their grief and bereavement.

WSLHD Palliative Care Staff Specialist Dr Clare Zachulski, is passionate about patient rights and the role of palliative care clinicians in ensuring these rights as people near the end of life.

It’s a patient’s right to live well every day of their life and this is what palliative care aims to do,” said Clare.

“It supports people to spend more time doing the things that matter most to them.

“Palliative care really is so much more than end-of-life care!”

To leave a paper heart message, the palliative care team will be in the main foyer of Blacktown Hospital, opposite Gloria Jeans on Thursday, 26 May 2022.