More than 70 per cent of people referred to a new community palliative care service in NSW have fulfilled their wish of dying at home, according to latest figures. The figures, released by HammondCare to coincide with National Palliative Care Week, show that since the Palliative Care Home Support Program (PCHSP) began in late 2013, 72 per cent of the people accessing the Program and who have died have been able to die at home, as they wished. The figures also show that some of the highest home death rates over the past three years were in rural and regional areas of NSW, including Cooma, Goulburn and Queanbeyan in the Southern NSW Local Health District. In comparison, a report by the Grattan Institute shows that 70 per cent of people throughout Australia want to die at home, yet only about 14 per cent do so, with the majority of Australians dying in hospital. It also shows that people are twice as likely to die at home in countries such as New Zealand, the United States, Ireland and France. General Manager, Health and Hospitals, HammondCare, Stewart James said the results were very pleasing, particularly for people in rural and regional areas, where there is a significant need for community palliative care services. “This Program is particularly well-suited to regional and rural areas because care can be provided by local staff in patients’ own communities.” National Palliative Care Week is a national week supported by the Department of Health to raise awareness of palliative care and encourage the Australian community to talk about the important issues surrounding death and dying. Southern NSW Local Health District Palliative Care Program Manager, Jacky Clancy, says that demand for palliative care is increasing. Professionals and volunteers are needed in our community to support patients and carers deal with dying, death and bereavement. “We encourage everyone to discuss their end-of-life wishes with their loved ones and health care team. Knowing what is important to you will reduce their burden at a difficult time and ensure you get the care you desire,” Ms Clancy said. For more information on National Palliative Care Week with the theme You matter, your care matters. Palliative care can make a difference, visit http://palliativecare.org.au/national- palliative-care-week/
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