Australians urged to embrace moments that matter

Powerful stories of everyday Australians break down misconceptions of palliative care and encourage us all to focus on what matters most.

Embracing family, love, trust, purpose and joy are some of the key lessons Australians can learn from a series of incredibly powerful stories showcasing very real and personal accounts of people who have experienced palliative care, reminding people of all ages to focus on what matters most in life.

Launching today during National Palliative Care Week, which runs from 19 to 25 May, Moments That Matter reveals intimate and personal stories from real people who have experienced palliative care, including raw accounts from a family of a young refugee girl who had a terminal genetic condition, a terminally ill couple, and a husband whose wife was grateful to have been able to live her final life stages in their family home.

Odette Waanders, CEO of Palliative Care Victoria, said the aim of sharing these compelling stories is to change existing fear-based perceptions of palliative care, and promote the positive and meaningful support it provides.

“Through Moments That Matter, we want to break down the myths and misconceptions of palliative care and start a conversation with people of all ages. Three quarters of the 40,000 Victorians who pass away each year require palliative care, and yet there is still not a clear understanding of what palliative care is,” Ms Waanders said.

Of the campaign, Ms Waanders said they want to highlight the human element and show it is not just about death. It’s about improving the quality of life and embracing what matters most to a person with life limiting illness and their family.

“Accepting our mortality helps us to put life into perspective, to live each moment, each day as best as we can, and to live life in a way that is true to your values, true to what really matters to you. The regrets of people who are dying remind us to say and show love, forgive others, thank others and ask for forgiveness. It’s about living your life more fully and focusing on what matter most,” Ms Waanders said.

“Palliative care acts as an additional layer of support, offering positive and meaningful care from the moment a person is diagnosed with a life limiting illness. It allows people with life limiting illness, their families and carers to live, die and grieve well,” she said.

It’s more than medical care. Palliative care involves a whole team approach including trained doctors, nurses, health therapists, social workers, spiritual carers and volunteers. Often family members are the main carers and it’s so important to provide support for them too.

“Palliative care is about family, respect, love, joy, purpose and trust. Each story is focussed on one of these themes and gives a very real insight into how palliative care positively impacts the lives of everyday Australians,” Ms Waanders said.

The Moments That Matter campaign invites and encourages all Australians to view the videos, and hear how palliative care has impacted and improved their quality of life.