National Palliative Care Strategy

Palliative care helps people live as fully and comfortably as possible when living with a serious illness that cannot be cured, such as metastatic breast cancer. It is a family-centred model of care, helping family and friends as well as the person who is unwell.

Palliative care specialists can help you manage physical symptoms, such as pain, as well as emotional, spiritual and social concerns. Palliative care is based on your individual needs and will be different for every person.

The Australian Government is developing a National Palliative Care Strategy to guide planning for palliative care services in the future. A draft of the strategy was released for public consultation.

BCNA attended public consultations in Melbourne and Sydney and provided feedback
on the strategy. The strategy includes the following principles:

  • Palliative care is person-centred care.
  • Death is a part of life.
  • Palliative care is for people living with terminal illness and their carers.
  • Care should be equitable.
  • Services should be integrated across the wider service system.
  • Care should be high quality and evidence based.

If you are interested in considering palliative care services, you may like to use an online tool that BCNA and Palliative Care Australia have developed to help people live well with metastatic breast cancer. This tool is for people living with metastatic disease and their friends and family and asks you a range of questions so that you can be directed to information and resources that might be helpful. Visit BCNA’s website, bcna.org.au.

Assisted dying legislation

You may be aware that legislation to legalise voluntary assisted dying for people with a terminal illness has been introduced in a number of Australian states.

In BCNA’s 2017 Member Survey, we asked our members if they supported voluntary and medically assisted euthanasia.

Of the 9,351 people who had an opinion on assisted dying, 83 per cent support this legislation.

BCNA understands that assisted dying for terminally ill people is a very sensitive topic. We are not taking a position either in favour or against, but we have shared the findings of our Member Survey on our website and with politicians and others with a particular interest in the issue.

In line with our long history of working to empower women to make their voices heard on issues that matter to them, we encourage you to contact your local Member of Parliament if you feel strongly about voluntary assisted dying.

Issue 81
Summer 2017