National Palliative Care Week 2024 Highlights

National Palliative Care Week (NPCW) was celebrated across the state with a diverse mix of events, displays and celebrations. Thank you to everyone who led or participated in these events. Your contribution has improved palliative care awareness and recognised those at the heart of palliative care. Here’s a snapshot from across NSW.  

Palliative Care NSW Events: Road tripping across the State 

We started the week in Northern NSW, partnering with Healthy North Coast PHN, Northern NSW LHD and Mid North Coast LHD to deliver Community Conversations in Tweed Heads, Yamba, Bellingen and Port Macquarie. We busted palliative care myths, discussed the importance of conversations about ‘what matters most’, and highlighted the resources we have available to clinicians, families and carers, and the community. Importantly it was a great opportunity to connect clinicians with the community, which was one of the highlights for the community members in attendance.  

We then headed to the Palliative Care Community Awareness Event held in Kahibah presented by the Hunter New England Central Coast PHN and then travelled to Parkes for their Community Palliative Care Expo, run by the Western NSW LHD team.  

At the ATSA Independent Living Expo held in Sydney we spoke to allied health professionals, home care, equipment and service providers, and people with a disability, their carers and families. 

Celebrating National Volunteer Week was also important, with 4 volunteers recognised by PCNSW for their contribution to palliative care volunteering before they attended the Premiers National Volunteer Week Reception.  While in Western NSW, a volunteer service was also recognised for the important work they do.  

The NSW Health Minister, Ryan Park also shared a message recognising NSW’s dedicated health staff and volunteers this National Palliative Care Week. Watch the video here. 

PCNSW Professional Education Day 

Our Professional Education Day was held on Friday 24th May at Norths Cammeray. 

Over 55 palliative care health professionals participated in a comprehensive program covering topics such as Trauma Informed Palliative Care, the Role of Community Pharmacists in Palliative Care, and Palliative Dementia Care. Additionally, we shared updates from the Aged Care and Volunteering sectors in NSW. 

The event provided a platform for Palliative Care health professionals to learn, network, and exchange experiences and knowledge, fostering continuous improvement within the sector. 

These shared experiences serve as catalysts for innovation and progress, driving positive change within the field of palliative care. Thank you to all attendees and expert speakers for their valuable contributions. 

Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) 

Contributor: Bruce Adams, Nurse Educator, Specialist Palliative Care Services 

Members of the LHD end-of-life committee rolled out end-of-life education across the LHD. The training resources were aimed at all clinicians providing end-of-life care.  The first of six education sessions was presented with the aim to continue face to face in various locations across the LHD until October 2024. The sessions generated great conversations and consideration to how we provide end-of-life care across all health disciplines.   

Image: CNC Karen Cooley presenting in the new Learning, Development & Research Centre at the newly opened Tweed Valley Hospital. 

South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) 

Contributor: Maxine Zhong, SWSLHD Palliative Care Health Promotion Officer 

Hoxton Park Community Health Centre held an afternoon tea on the 21st May. We celebrated the care our general community nurses do for our palliative care clients. The palliative care team here supplied the afternoon tea and we had a number of games to make them smile and celebrated that palliative care is not always sad – rather it is all about the clients living their best lives with our support!  

Campbelltown Hospital held a Palliative Care Week display and stall on the 23rd May. Lots of brochures and information were given out and palliative care education sessions were also delivered on the wards.  

Liverpool Hospital held a morning tea on the 24th May to celebrate the week, with the festivities happening on the ward’s balcony with our palliative care team staff.  

On Tuesday 28th May SWSLHD Palliative Care Service hosted a special online program for staff members, designed to explore cultural sensitivity in palliative care and end-of-life care.  

The session highlighted current palliative care health promotion initiatives for CALD communities and featured two guest speakers with expertise in supporting Pacific Islander and Cambodian communities across SWSLHD.  Theodore Latu, Multicultural Health Officer and Srey Kang, Palliative Care registered nurse, spoke about the importance of cultural sensitivity in palliative care, unique beliefs and practices surrounding death and dying within these cultural groups and strategies for healthcare professionals to provide culturally appropriate care.

Aged Care Residence Pathways Killara Gardens 

Contributors: Prena Bhattarai from Killara Gardens and Jayne Persico, Administration Assistant at Pathways Residences 

A successful Palliative Care Week at Killara Gardens with the focus on “Embracing Compassion: Supporting Quality of Life” was held sharing awareness and education around palliative care.  

Special thanks to Gaby and team for their wonderful initiative for organising meaningful activities!  

See below images capturing the special moments on Palliative Care week 2024.

Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) 

Contributor: Debbie Root, Clinical Nurse Consultant for Palliative and End of Life Care Community, Chronic and Complex Care 

CCLHD Palliative Care Service recognised the contribution of their palliative care team during National Palliative Care Week. Their Specialist Palliative Care Service, is based at Long Jetty Healthcare Centre and the service cares for patients in community settings, including patients’ homes and aged care facilities. They also care for patients of the Gosford Palliative Care Unit, as well as consulting with other patients throughout Gosford and Wyong hospitals. Planning and design for the new Wyong Palliative Care Unit is currently underway.  Thank you to everyone who is part of this special service for your dedication, compassion and care. 

Stalls were displayed at each of the hospitals – Gosford and Wyong and the service spoke with staff/ public about Palliative and end-of-life care.  

Images: Community (no 1), inpatient teams Gosford (no 2) and Wyong (no 3) 

John Hunter Hospital Palliative Care Team (Adults) 

Contributor: Emily Bauer, John Hunter Hospital Palliative Care Team  

The team held a very successful event in the Royal Newcastle Centre at John Hunter Hospital to raise awareness about palliative care. They engaged with around 250 colleagues, visitors and patients providing information about palliative care, advance care planning and our service.  By asking the question, ‘what would matter most at the end of your life?’ the team wrote responses on origami hearts made by them. These will be presented and displayed at a later date.  

Far West Local Health District (FWLHD) 

Contributor: Melissa Cumming, Director Cancer & Palliative Care Services, FWLHD 

In Broken Hill, the Specialist Palliative Care Team held an open day and then celebrated the opening of Jacaranda Cottage.

Images (left to right): The Broken Hill Specialist Palliative Care Team holding an open day in Broken Hill Hospital. 

Some of our Specialists Palliative Care Team in Far West LHD at the official opening of Jacaranda Cottage which houses the team.

Our Palliative Care Volunteer Manager and Volunteers cutting cake at the opening. 

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) 

During National Palliative Care Week, the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) organized significant events at Auburn Hospital, Westmead Hospital, and Mount Druitt Hospital, acknowledging the indispensable efforts of the Supportive and Palliative Care teams across the district. 

Find more information and photos of these events by clicking here.

South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD)
Contributor: Rachel Craft, Health Promotion Officer- District Palliative Care, SESLHD 

Death Café: Talking about it won’t kill you
On Saturday, May 18th the inaugural Randwick Waverley Death Cafe was hosted in partnership with CESPHN, SESLHD, Randwick and Waverley Council and Metropolitan Memorial Parks. This event kicked off the first of a series of events across the community for National Palliative Care Week 2024.  

Approximately 15 locals attended the session run by SESLHD Grief and Bereavement Coordinator- Joanna McIlveen with some of the feedback including “Thank you for facilitating an interesting first Death Café in the Eastern Suburbs. I was thrilled to attend the Death Café and enjoyed the community group who shared their relevant insights and experiences. End of life is a topic that requires focus and discussion for everyone”. 

Screening: Live the Life you Please Palliative Care film, Sutherland Shire 
On Tuesday, May 21st a screening of Live the Life You Please was held at the beautiful Hazelhurst Gallery. This film is a powerful social impact film that challenges our perceptions of death, dying, and palliative care. The event was a great success with over 30 members of the community attending and a robust Q&A session afterwards facilitated by The Sutherland Hospital Palliative Care CNC Lara Johnson and SESLHD Grief and Bereavement Coordinator Joanna McIlveen. 

Screening: Live the Life you Please, Randwick
On Thursday, May 23rd, a further screening of the film was held. The event was opened by the Mayor of Waverley Paula Masselos and attended by over 80 community members. The screening was followed by a Q&A session with staff from SESLHD Palliative Care including POW Staff Specialist, Dr Rebeccas Strut, Joanna McIlveen and community members. This session was both insightful and engaging, featuring challenging questions from the audience that fostered a deeper understanding of palliative care.  

Everyone left with a greater awareness of the significant role palliative care can play in improving quality of life for people with life limiting illness. The feedback included “Thank you to you, the team, and the Ritz for the excellent evening last night. The panel discussion following the film screening was interesting. I support and appreciate the work you, Jo, Frida, and others are doing to address palliative care, death and dying”.  

‘Let’s Chat about Palliative Care’ information session at Engadine Library
On Monday 20th May, SESLHD Neurodisability Palliative Care CNC, Maria Heaton delivered a session on Palliative Care in partnership with Gymea Community Aid to the community of Engadine. 

The feedback included “The seminar has opened my eyes to the whole world of death and dying and the help offered to families”.  

Events/Activities across SESLHD hospital sites:

Sutherland Hospital 

  • Palliative Care Quiz received 209 responses from hospital staff with the winner of the hamper being ‘Southcare’. 
  • Palliative Care information stall held in TSH Atrium from 9am-12 midday 
  • Staff attended the ‘Life The Life You Please’ Palliative Care film screening for community held at Hazelhurst Gallery in Gymea. 
  • ‘Ask Palliative Care Anything’ informal Q&A session for staff held in TSH Auditorium.  

Prince of Wales Hospital 

  • The Palliative Care consult service engaged with MDT staff on the wards, asking palliative care myth busters and gave out pens, lollies and orange hearts. 
  • The Palliative Care community team visited local GP practices with goodie bags to promote both Palliative Care week, as well as the new Community Palliative Care Service and the Palliative Supportive Multidisciplinary Service. 
  • Hospital wide quiz via email that asked True/False / Yes/No questions in relation to Palliative care. 

St George Hospital 

  • An educational & promotional resource table on Palliative Care manned by the Palliative Care Team nurses in the Atrium  
  • ‘Knit In’ session with the Kogarah Knitters Guild- The Kogarah Knitters Guild supply knitted and crochet blankets along with knitted hearts for patients and their families. They have been contributing to St George ‘End of life Matters’ project being rolled out across several wards in the past 12 months. St George Palliative Care Team along with GM Angela Karooz presented certificates of appreciation to the 4 groups who donate blankets and hearts to end-of- life patients within the hospital. 
  • NPCW Auditorium Presentation on topic: ‘The role of the Calvary hospital Biography Service’ – 70 staff attended both face to face and online 
  • Nursing Staff quiz 

Calvary Hospital: 

  • Dedicated Palliative Care display in foyer and in Palliative Care unit 
  • Staff attended ‘The Power of Story’ session at St George hospital delivered by Kevin O’Neill from The Calvary Biography Service