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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 February 2016) . . Page.. 520 ..

Three-quarters of palliative care patients have a family carer. These carers would benefit greatly from practical education that would increase their skills, improve care-giving competence and address information needs. It is not known, however, which educational methods are acceptable and how high-quality tailored information can be delivered at a national level. Under the study, a pilot will endeavour to design and evaluate an innovative distance-learning educational package that will increase the effectiveness of the carer to provide better support to their family member. The findings of this research will help inform healthcare providers, the ACT Palliative Care Clinical Network and government on future investment priorities in the field of palliative care service delivery.

Funding support has also been extended to Clare Holland House for its community specialist palliative care service to increase its workforce and its capacity to handle more patients and services. I would like to just mention the good work Clare Holland House does to support people in palliative care, including sometimes, rarely but sadly, children. I have had an opportunity over the past year to get to know a couple of local families who have lost children to brain tumours. It is certainly a tragedy no-one would ever want to experience and any way we can improve palliative care for children in the ACT is a good thing I will continue to work on.

The community specialist palliative care service provides access to specialist palliative care for patients, incorporating services provided by Clare Holland House, and provides care to patients with a terminal illness who wish to be cared for and/or die in a community setting. Admission to the service requires referral from a primary practitioner, GP, specialist doctor or allied health worker and is based on individual patient needs as defined by Palliative Care Australia. Fundamental to the service is the partnership between service deliverers and care providers to enable and strengthen the skills of primary care providers. Referral to the service is not exclusively for the management of physical issues, such as pain and symptom management, but may also be for the management of psychological, emotional, social and spiritual support needs so crucial at this time.

Care of the dying is important care. Our dedicated staff who work within this sector understand that every patient, family and carer has unique needs that must be identified and met during and after the dying process. Successfully meeting these needs is and will continue to be an important focus of the health sector in the ACT.

On the matter of the commonwealth’s law that prevents the ACT from legislating for voluntary euthanasia in our community, I support this call from Ms Porter today. As Minister Corbell noted, the views of many are heartfelt and divergent in our community but, as representatives in this place, we should be free to debate such laws. I thank Ms Porter for her work on this. It has been careful, considered and, in her unique style, very respectful of the community. It is this long, hard, gentle, sensible work that has enabled us to bring this debate to a constructive point. I congratulate her enormously on this work and am happy to support the motion today.

MS BURCH (Brindabella) (3.40): I, like others in this place, thank Ms Porter for bringing this matter of great importance here and for her efforts in being a champion

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