Palliative Care Victoria is calling for all political parties to commit to investment in palliative care, to meet the rapidly rising demand.
Palliative care and end of life care are an integral part of the health care system which improves the quality of life of patients with life-limiting conditions and their families, helping them to live, die and grieve well.
The release of ‘The sustainability of palliative care in Victoria’ report has highlighted the concerns that palliative care services have now, and for the future.
Alarming findings from the report show funding increases have not kept pace with demand for services and the rising cost of service delivery.
Demand for palliative care services has increased by 11.9% over the last 5 years, due to the growing and ageing of Victoria’s population. Meanwhile, funding increased by only 10.2% in the same period.
The shortfall in funding for service delivery is expected to reach $91.2 million by 2025.
Many of the funding gaps have been covered by charitable funds within not-for-profit organisations. These funds are now depleted.
Approximately 75% of service providers do not believe they can meet future demand. This means people with life limiting illnesses and their family are at increased risk of not having their needs met.
Investing in palliative care will provide savings to the health system overall, with an estimated 50,000 bed days saved per year by investing in community palliative care alone (Palliative Care Australia).
Furthermore, according to the Victorian State Government Pre-Budget Submission 2019-2020 by Palliative Care Victoria, more than 10,000 Victorians will die each year without having access to palliative care when they require it.
With the projected 50% increase in need for palliative care by 2035, more Victorians will miss the care they deserve if we don’t start to prepare now. Palliative Care Victoria’s CEO, Violet Platt has said, “We are asking the Victorian Government to work with the palliative care sector and undertake a full financial analysis and modelling of palliative care across Victoria.”
In addition to the service funding, we also need to:
– Work with the Victorian community to increase knowledge and understanding of palliative care so they can make informed choices about their future. – Support carers with practical support such as a night sitting service so they can take a well-deserved rest and support their loved one to be cared for at home. – Develop a workforce plan that ensures we can meet the growing needs of the population. Palliative care professionals and experts are