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This year’s National Palliative Care Week (19-20 May) involved the theme, ‘What Matters Most?’, which asked Australians to reflect on what would be most important to them if they became seriously unwell.

“Dying is a normal part of life so it is important for all Australians to have discussions about death and dying and they type of care they would want to receive if they could no longer speak for themselves,” says Cheryl Bush, executive Manager of Clinical and Nursing Services at Gippsland Lakes Community Health (GLCH).

“By having a conversation with loved ones and health professionals, people can ensure their treatment and care best aligns with their values and preferences regarding both the type and place of care and place of death,” Ms Bush adds.

GLCH has a team of compassionate staff who provide specialist health care and practical support to people who have advanced disease or a life-limiting illness. The GLCH Palliative Care team includes the Home Based Nursing team who have specific qualification or expertise in palliative care providing care as needed 7 days per week, along with a Nurse Practitioner and Psychosocial Support Worker who work collaboratively toward supporting local GPs and community based nursing services across East Gippsland in the provision of palliative care.

GLCH offers an Advance Care Planning service where people can plan ahead for their future health and personal care needs, in the event they become unable to make decisions themselves. A registered nurse, who is trained in Advance Care Planning is available by appointment to talk to you and your family members at home or in your office. The nurse will provide information, resources and guidance to help you create your individualised plan.

Nursing staff can also deliver an introductory session called “Making The Last Chapter Reflect The Whole Book”, which is ideal for small community groups who are interested in planning for their future.

To find out more about palliative care and end-of-life services, contact the nursing team at GLCH on 5155 8300.

Palliative Care team

Pictured (L-R) – Gippsland Lakes Community Health’s Palliative Care team: Selena Van Overdyk, Sarah Patterson, Luke Williams NP, Amanda Crombie, Michael Flynn and Barbara Phillips