Talking with individuals and their families and helping them to make decisions about their future care is at once difficult and rewarding. These conversations take time. They must be informed by appropriate ethical standards which help to shape choices. They force us to confront difficult realities such as sickness and decline, dying and death. They often involve painful emotions and hard choices. And these conversations must be ongoing, especially when an individual’s health situation or life situation changes.
Patients expect that their health professionals will initiate these difficult conversations with them, and that health professionals will guide them through the process of making plans for future care. Sadly, this does not always happen, or it does not always happen well. But when this is done well, it makes a powerful contribution to a good death.
The conference offers participants an opportunity to hear from, and engage with, experts in various aspects of palliative care. Our keynote speaker is Prof Ian Maddocks AM, an eminent palliative care practitioner who is also the 2013 Senior Australian of the Year.
This conference will be of interest to doctors, nurses, health care managers, pastoral care workers, chaplains, allied health professionals and support staff, especially those who work in primary care, community care, aged care, hospital care, and specialised palliative care. It will also be of interest to patients and health and aged care consumers, and members of the community who are involved in the care of elderly or seriously unwell Australians.