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The views and opinions expressed in our blog series are those of the authors and are not necessarily supported by CareSearch, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health.
The aim of modern palliative care, whether provided by generalist, or specialist service providers, is to support palliative patients to live and die within the context of their lives, in the setting of their choice, with symptom control and a pattern of care that is supportive of patients’ caregivers.
Most Australian palliative care patients prefer to be cared for at home and the majority want to die at home, though only about 16% of Australians achieve that wish . While there is no nationally consistent data on the volume of community services providing palliative care, it is known to be limited .
In May 2014, Carers Australia published a discussion paper, Dying at home: Preferences and roles for unpaid carers. It seems fitting that during National Carers Week we recognise the contribution that carers make to people who are dying. Most people wish to be cared for and die at home with the people they love and in familiar surroundings. Remaining at home is made much more likely where there is someone, or a group of people, who is willing to provide care and support for the dying person. Family, friends, work colleagues and neighbours all have taken on a caring role.
National Carers Week gives all Australians the opportunity to show their support for Australia’s 2.8 million unpaid carers! This important awareness-raising week runs from 16 – 22 October, when all Australians can ‘let carers know they count’ and help build a carer-friendly Australia.
Australia’s unpaid carers make a tremendous contribution to the nation, undertaking challenging caring roles for family and friends that saves our country billions of dollars annually. This important role can limit carers’ own education and employment opportunities, which in turn can result in social isolation and financial stress, so it is important we acknowledge and recognise the vital work they do.