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10 Things to Know About Palliative Care in NZ

10 Things to Know About Palliative Care in New Zealand

The Palliative Care Council is challenging Kiwis to get to know 10 key facts about palliative care as a way of marking World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on Saturday 9 October.

“Palliative care is a crucial part of our health care system, providing care and support for people with life-limiting illnesses and their families,” says Dr Kate Grundy, Chair of the Palliative Care Council of New Zealand.

“We expect the need for Palliative Care to grow as the population gets older and it is important that New Zealanders understand what it is and how it can benefit patients and their families and whanau.

“As part of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on 9 October the Palliative Care Council wants to raise awareness of palliative care in New Zealand and its role in our health system,” says Dr Grundy.

10 things to know about palliative care

1. Palliative care is care for people of all ages with a life limiting illness. It aims to optimise an individual’s quality of life until death by addressing the person’s physical, psychological, spiritual and cultural needs and supporting the individual’s family, whanau and other carers where needed through the illness and after the death.

2. Palliative care is not just for people with cancer. It is also provided to people with other illnesses including heart failure, liver failure, renal failure, chronic respiratory disease and neurological conditions.

3. New Zealand is the third best place in the world to die – just behind the United Kingdom and Australia. (Economist Intelligence Unit). This is a reflection of the level of public awareness about death, the quality of care available for people at the end of life and cost and availability of that care.

4. Palliative care is not just delivered by hospices. It is provided by GPs, District Nurses, in residential aged care facilities and in hospitals.

5. The Government spends approximately $50 million a year on palliative care.

6. $22 million is raised through charitable donations to fund palliative care services.

7. 7,000 volunteers, working 480,000 hours a year help deliver hospice services.

8. Over 720 doctors, nurses and allied health professionals provide palliative care services in New Zealand.

9. New research shows that when people with advanced cancer receive palliative care alongside cancer therapies they have a better quality of life and live longer. (New England Journal of Medicine 2010)

10. Palliative care is not just for the person dying, it provides support and for families and whanau as well.

Information about World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on 9 October is available here

The Palliative Care Council is an independent body representing the palliative care sector. It provides strategic advice to the Minister of Health to help improve access to, and standards of, palliative and end-of-life care.


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