Palliative Care Australia (PCA) is the national peak body for palliative care services in Australia. It works to promote a whole of government approach to palliative care service delivery and to highlight Australia as a world-class leader in palliative care provision.
PCA has been funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health (2020-2023) to continue to deliver national projects that provide national leadership in palliative care and drive public policy in access and continuous quality improvements.
The PCA program has five streams of activity and is mapped to the goals of the National Palliative Care Strategy (2018) (the NPCS), including:
- National leadership to the health, aged care sectors and the wider Australian community - aligning with NPCS goals: (1) Understanding; (2) Capability; (3) Access and Choice; (4) Collaboration; (5) Investment; and (7) Accountability.
- Implement projects designed to improve access to high-quality palliative, end-of-life care and advance care planning across care settings - aligning with NPCS goals: (1); (2); (3); (4); (5); (6) Data and Evidence; and (7).
- Inform and contribute to the development of palliative care public policy in Australia - aligning with NPCS goals: (3); (4); (5); (6); and (7).
- Consultation and collaboration with the wider community on palliative care issues - aligning with NPCS goals: (1); (2); (3); (4); (6); and (7).
- Promote increased awareness of palliative care - aligning with NPCS goals: (1); (2); (3); (4); and (6).
The PCA national projects activity work plan includes the continuations of its services and national resources, including:
PCA supports an evidence-based approach to public policy through data analysis, evidence reviews and debate, such as hosting targeted issue forums. It also promotes the collaboration of all National Palliative Care (NPC) projects and other bodies, to facilitate joint project, research, and promotional activities, including for data improvements.
As well as showcasing excellence at a national level through Parliamentary Friend of Palliative Care Group events and the biennial National Palliative Care Awards, PCA is continuing its efforts in consultation and collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and underserved groups. Across the project period, PCA will work with stakeholders to co-design resources identified as gaps by providers, communities, consumers and carers, or PCA Member Organisations and Affiliates.
Awareness of palliative care and choice for consumers is a core objective of PCA. The weekly PCA e-Newsletter has over 7000 subscribers and Palliative Matters: stories about living, dying and palliative care published at regular intervals throughout the year.
National Palliative Care Week is held each year, in each state and territory. This week provides a platform to showcase the great work by PCA, in palliative care services, as well as the work of PCA's Member Organisations and Affiliates, and other NPC Projects. This year, in NPCW 2020, PCA launched Self Care Matters resources for palliative care workers and carers in recognition that self-care is caring for everybody, and that ultimately it has a positive benefit to patients as well. We also held a discussion panel, hosted by Dr Norman Swan, on how palliative care could support efforts to curb the progression of COVID-19.
Finally, PCA is working closely with Paediatric Palliative Care Australia and New Zealand (PaPCANZ) to deliver the Paediatric Palliative Care National Action Plan, which represents a unique opportunity to support health professionals to respond to the specialist needs of children with life limiting conditions.
Chelsea Menchin, National Project Manager at Palliative Care Australia (PCA)