Reshaping palliative care so more people may live their lives to the end with peace and dignity

HammondCare will take a lead role advocating for better palliative care for all under a new five year plan that also expands its own end of life services to assist more people whether in the home, in residential aged care or in hospital.

HammondCare CEO Mike Baird announces the launch of the Palliative Care StrategyChief Executive Mike Baird, who launched HammondCare’s Reshaping palliative care for the future: Strategy to 2026, said the independent Christian charity wanted to ensure more people have the opportunity to live their lives to the very end with peace and dignity.

He said current estimates are that up to 75 per cent of people dying in Australia now miss out on palliative care. In residential aged care the results are even worse, with only about 6 per cent of residents accessing palliative care despite increasingly complex needs.

In rural and remote areas, Mr Baird said access to palliative care is  a “postcode lottery” with the service offerings about a quarter of that offered in the city.

“It’s time for this to change, and HammondCare is ready to be part of the answer,” Mr Baird said.

“Our team has worked tirelessly to develop a comprehensive five-year strategy that amplifies our leading position in palliative care and uses it to improve understanding and access to quality care wherever we can.”

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Under the strategy, HammondCare commits to the four goals of enabling people to die with dignity; improving palliative care access for vulnerable communities; improving knowledge, skill and confidence in palliative care for the workforce and community; and leading the health and aged care sector in palliative care and research.

HammondCare has outlined long-term initiatives including support for people in residential aged care with life-limiting illnesses to receive effective palliative care on site, including upskilling staff, to reduce the likelihood of transfer to hospitals.

For clients on Home Care packages, in-home services will include more end-of-life support and resources in collaboration with local palliative care services, so dying clients can be cared for in their homes.

For people living with dementia, HammondCare wants to develop tools to prompt earlier identification in the last six months of life to help alleviate suffering for people unable to express pain.

HammondCare wants to build on its experience in promoting advance care planning and palliative care needs assessments for primary health and aged care professionals to enable earlier identification of people requiring support.

HammondCare General Manager Health and Palliative Care Andrew Montague said good palliative care respect’s people’s needs and choices for end-of-life and offers compassionate and tailored care to those at their most vulnerable.

Australia’s ageng population and increasingly complex health conditions will lead to a doubling of the need for palliative care  by 2050. “We as an industry need to act urgently to prepare for the decades ahead,” he said.

The strategy does not support voluntary assisted dying (VAD) as an alternative to palliative care - HammondCare believes those advocating for VAD don’t consider a person’s circumstances that might influence their decision or ability to provide informed consent.

“We oppose the legalisation of VAD and instead endorse palliative care as the appropriate approach for people who are dying,” Dr Montague said.

Read Reshaping palliative care for the future: Strategy for 2026