To meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients requiring palliative care, health professionals need both clinical and cultural knowledge and skills to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and their family and community and provide the best possible end-of-life care journey for all involved.
Sharing stories is a valuable way to help show us how each person’s journey to the end is different. We need to understand and acknowledge the role of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person’s culture, family, and community in this journey. At this time many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people provide care for their loved one requiring palliative care, and they learn and share the stories of that individual during this time of sadness.
"I had help from palliative nurses... and when it got to the end he just couldn't get out of bed. But they were lovely because they gave me a bed in the hospital in the room with him - right to the end, yeah."
A carer's story.
Source: Kelly J, Dwyer J, Mackean T, Willis E, O’Donnell K, Battersby M, et al. Managing two worlds together: Study 3 - The experiences of patients and their carers (902kb pdf). Melbourne: The Lowitja Institute; 2011. Page 22.
For a brief summary on cultural considerations in palliative care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, see:
Last updated 19 August 2021