‘People at the heart of quality palliative care’: Reflections on Palliative Care Week across WSLHD

During National Palliative Care Week, Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) hosted meaningful events at Auburn Hospital, Westmead Hospital and Mount Druitt Hospital, recognising the invaluable contributions of Supportive and Palliative Care teams throughout the district.

With the theme ‘Matters of Life and Death,’ the week provided an opportunity for the western Sydney community to reflect on the profound significance of compassionate end-of-life care.

Supportive and palliative care focuses on optimising quality of life by relieving pain and other symptoms, aiming to ease pain, distress and other physical, emotional and spiritual problems which present with a serious or terminal illness, and it encourages the patient to live as well as possible.

At Westmead Hospital, distinguished guests and staff from across the district honoured the dedicated individuals who embody the ethos of people at the heart of quality palliative care.

This is an opportunity for me to express my heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering dedication. Supportive and Palliative Care transcends mere clinical service—it’s a relational, patient-centred, multidisciplinary endeavour.

Dr. Sally Greenaway, Director of Supportive and Palliative Medicine

Senior Aboriginal Health Worker Nicole Winters gave an address focused on culturally appropriate care and the broader impact of death on community.

 “Palliative care is everyone’s business, but it starts with each individual and their ability to connect and engage with Aboriginal clients and their families in a caring and compassionate way,” she said. 

Integrated and Community Health Acting Director of Nursing & Midwifery Services, Tracy Millen discussed the integration of palliative care services between community and the hospital-based service going forward, reaffirming the district’s commitment to providing holistic support to those in need.

The session was brought to a close by General Manager Westmead Hospital, Janelle Matic as she acknowledged the profound impact of palliative care while also celebrating the multi-disciplinary approach which underpins supportive and palliative care.

It was wonderful to have the team come together and showcase their work and their passion to support patients and their families while spreading awareness around the work of the team.

Preeti Saraswati, Palliative Care Project Officer

The district also acknowledged National Palliative Care Week across the facilities with information stands at Auburn and Westmead Hospitals, fostering meaningful dialogues with both clinical and non-clinical staff, as well as western Sydney community members passing through.

Staff, volunteers and patient families closed the week-long celebrations at a barbecue held at Mount Druitt Hospital Palliative Care Unit, which underscored the spirit of compassion that defines the essence of palliative care.

The celebrations for National Palliative Care week served as a poignant reminder of the importance of comfort, dignity, and quality of life for individuals navigating serious illness.