An eight year boy said, if he was really sick, he wanted “to be safe”.

An 80 year old said she just “wanted to be listened to”.

To acknowledge National Palliative Care Week and the theme of 'What Matters Most', an interactive display was set up in the foyer of Broken Hill Hospital where patients, visitors, and staff were invited to contribute to a large communal canvas highlighting 'what matters most' if they were faced with  a life-limiting illness.

Over 70 people contributed to the 5 day event.

The resident art therapist, as well as volunteers and palliative care staff talked for 4 hours a day with visitors about ‘what matters most’.

Literature on Palliative Care and advance care planning were also available, as well as the opportunity to talk with staff about Palliative Care, their values and wishes.

Melissa Cumming, Director Cancer and Palliative Care said:

“The canvas was always going to be the by-product of this interaction; the important work was thinking about and having conversations about what matters most. Interestingly, as people sat to either write, draw or decorate a collage to contribute to the canvas, not only did they talk about their values, but they shared their personal stories with our staff. After advertising on radio and the local paper, people came to the hospital foyer with the sole purpose of contributing to the canvas, highlighting how important the topic is of ‘what really matters’. We just have to ask the question”.

One lady who cared for husband at home and was supported by palliative care, contributed to the canvas with “Support and Visitors” being what mattered most.   

The canvas (kindly donated by Amanda Johnson from Willy Nilly Art) will be varnished, and displayed to acknowledge the value of everyone’s contribution to this important topic.

Melissa Cumming offered her thanks to Amanda, Mia, Marion, Renee, Priya, Janet and all the Palliative Care team who helped out on the display.

Main pic: The canvas after 2 hours on display, with people contributing their thoughts (Photo courtesy of the Barrier Daily Truth)

Mia Vaux (Art Therapist) and Melissa Cumming with the final artwork.

Close up of the community masterpiece
Close up of “What Matters Most”
Close up of “What Matters Most”