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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 February 2016) . . Page.. 519 ..

forums on this issue, which are always very well received. I hope we can continue to progress this important work in the Assembly on her behalf.

Anything we can do to improve the lives of people and minimise the distress and grief associated with death and dying, not only for the individual but for their family, friends and carers as well, is important. Debate is also important when it comes to this issue—debate, and talking the issues through. We perhaps do not often talk enough with our family and friends about what will happen when the time comes that we have to say goodbye. Just having those conversations can be an incredibly important and even positive experience and can help to ensure our loved ones have dignity and peace in their final days.

The ACT government knows that palliative care is an increasingly important area of health care for our community and consequently worthy of continued and increasing government attention. We have great palliative care services throughout Canberra and ACT Health works collaboratively with a range of partners, including residential aged-care facilities, specialist palliative care services, GPs and non-government organisations, to give people the opportunity to be cared for and die in their preferred place.

Effective communication and coordination of care with community care providers are critical considerations when planning and implementing systems to address end-of-life and palliative care processes. As a result, as mentioned, the ACT palliative care services plan 2013–17 was released in October 2013 to provide direction for palliative care within the ACT and surrounding region. One of the identified strategies of the plan was the development of an integrated and coordinated ACT palliative care clinical network. To ensure the network’s relevance and success, it maintains a membership representing all of the key organisations responsible for or with an interest in the coordination and provision of palliative care services in the ACT and region. The network has been successfully running since May 2014 advising government on the strategic direction of palliative care.

In last year’s ACT budget $2.5 million was made available to ACT Health for end-of-life care at home to increase the government’s support for end-of-life care by providing home-based palliative care packages and more staff and education for healthcare professionals. The government is also committed to raising awareness of advance care plans and palliative care services within the ACT and surrounding region.

In order to further advance the implementation of the plan and to better assist the direction of the network, the development of a model of palliative care was commissioned and is now nearing completion. This model will clearly delineate the roles and responsibilities of each of the palliative care services in the system. It will provide a basis for identifying current and future resourcing gaps and a structure for clear communication across the sector. It will be a patient-centred model, providing patients with clear direction on how to enter, journey though and exit palliative care services across our region. In addition, a proof of concept study is currently being undertaken by the Centre for Palliative Care Research investigating the efficacy of providing palliative care at home.

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