Who’s that palliative care mob: A family’s journey of understanding and accessing palliative care

Categories: Care and People & Places.

This NAIDOC Week, a dynamic new resource is being launched as part of Gwandalan’s rich offering of tools in their ‘Dillybag’.

The ‘Who’s that palliative care mob?’ animated video and booklet seeks to raise awareness about palliative care within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It features one family’s story and shares information on services and support available for those on their returning to Spirit journey.

Inspired by the real life experience of the author, Jonathan Dodson/Jauncey, this down to earth story shines a light on how important and empowering end of life conversations can be. Empowering not just for the person living with the life limiting illness but also for their family and loved ones.

“It’s a tribute to a lady I once knew named Patsy; she went through a cancer journey with breast cancer and I remember the point where she was told that she wasn’t going to make it no matter what treatments she continued to have,” Jonathon explains.

“She came to terms with it and I remember having a conversation with her where she introduced me to the idea of palliative care. I was totally against it at the time. I thought it was kind of giving up. I kept saying to her, “Don’t worry, you will get better. You don’t need them”.

“I was in total denial. As Patsy got sicker, I realised I may be wrong in my belief. Patsy and I sat down one day and had a very similar conversation to the one in this story. Following this, Patsy organised the palliative care team to talk to me and my brothers about her health.”

It’s a story that educates, spreads awareness, and more importantly, starts a conversation around advance care planning within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.

Aside from raising awareness, Jonathan’s story also provides an opportunity for us to reflect and understand the need to deliver culturally safe and responsive palliative care to First Nations Peoples.

“The need for support and care is there across Australia, but there are gaps in the delivery of palliative care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, as well as gaps in our understanding of what the returning to Spirit journey means and looks like for these communities,” says Camilla Rowland, Chief Executive Officer, Palliative Care Australia.

“There are cultural sensitivities around death that we need to better understand to provide appropriate care – and this new video and booklet along with all the resources Gwandalan has developed are great foundations for learning.

“This NAIDOC Week I invite anyone working in palliative care to use the opportunity the week creates to address any knowledge gaps in the delivery of culturally safe and responsive care and consider how the range of tools and resources out there can be incorporated into your health practice.”

PCA has put together a list of resources that you can learn from and share with your network!

Start here:

  • Discussing Choices – Indigenous Advance Care Plans: Filmed on the remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community of Groote Eylandt in Northern Territory, this video outlines how local health centre professionals were successful in starting conversations around Advance Care Plans. With the endorsement of Elders, many community members ended up completing an individual Advance Care Plan. 

For more information, visit: 

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This information was published with permission from Palliative Care Australia. You can read the original article here.

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