It's time to talk about dying
QUEENSLANDERS affected by life-limiting illnesses are being urged to call on expert support via the PalAssist helpline during National Palliative Care Week (24-30 May).
This year's theme is 'Dying to talk; talking about dying won't kill you'.
Cancer Council Queensland (CCQ) has been funded by Queensland Health to provide PalAssist - a free phone and online service available to Queenslanders 24 hours, seven days a week, on 1800 772 273 or palassist.org.au.
CCQ spokesperson Katie Clift said National Palliative Care Week aimed to eliminate the stigma that stopped people from talking about end of life.
"National Palliative Care Week is a great opportunity for us to start a community conversation about death and dying, so that those who are affected by terminal illness can feel comfortable and confident in seeking the support they need," Ms Clift said.
"Many of us are afraid to talk about how we want to be cared for when faced with a life-limiting illness.
"Our aim is to ensure all Queenslanders have the best possible quality of life at the end of life.
"PalAssist exists to meet the needs of all Queenslanders impacted by life-limiting disease.
"Demand for palliative care in Queensland is expected to increase over time with the growth and ageing of the population.
"The 24-hour service helps address the many challenges faced by Queensland families, forming part of a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach to quality care and support.
"Qualified and trained staff are on standby at all times to take calls and offer information, advice, referral and psychological support."
PalAssist is expected to receive a high volume of calls from carers, families, and friends of patients during National Palliative Care Week.
"It's estimated there are around 2.6 million carers in Australia, providing about 1.2 billion hours of care to people in need every year," Ms Clift said.
"If you're caring for someone with any terminal illness - don't be afraid to talk about death.
"Coping with a loved one's terminal illness, both emotionally and practically, can be extremely challenging - the PalAssist helpline team is available to listen and to help.
"PalAssist also helps Queenslanders access palliative care services, understand what palliative care is, and what to expect as an illness progresses.
"Queenslanders who call can be assured of receiving professional advice and care, helping to overcome the feelings of fear, anxiety, and isolation that people affected by terminal illness commonly experience."