National Palliative Care Week (NPCW), held from 22 – 28 May 2022, is Australia’s largest annual awareness-raising initiative held to increase understanding of the many benefits of palliative care, seeking to raise awareness about the rights of all Australians to access high-quality palliative care when and where they need it.
The definitions of palliative care by both the World Health Organization and Palliative Care Australia recognise that suffering may not only be physical, and that care needs to include psychological, spiritual and social care and support. Providing comprehensive care requires an understanding of the specific needs and circumstances of the individual patient. One thing is clear - demand for palliative care is increasing, for a number of reasons.
- It is anticipated that by 2066 around 25% of the population will be over 65.
- As around 80% of Australians who die in any given year are over 65, the number of people dying each year will increase consistently.
- The number of people receiving a palliative medicine specialist service through the Medicare Benefits Scheme increased by almost 85% in the five years to 2015–16 (as detailed in the current National Palliative care Strategy) and is expected to continue increasing exponentially.
Catch up on all the recommendations in the National Palliative Care Strategy here