The recent news that Queensland will lose 10 palliative care beds is disturbing, both in the fact that it is happening, and that the loss of such a vital service receives so little attention. State Government funding cuts to Oxley’s Canossa Hospital means their public palliative care service will be reduced and then closed, early in the new year.
While the State government has said other beds will become available, they cannot say when the planned beds will be ready. In any case, the State needs additional palliative care services rather than replacement services.
It’s compellingly clear to us all that as medical technology advances, end of life issues are becoming increasingly complex. Palliative care remains the often forgotten conversation topic, eclipsed by hot button issues such as euthanasia.
If we truly want to offer dignity and compassion to those who are suffering, we would, at the very least, be equally passionate about the promotion and progress of palliative care as we are about terminating lives. A lot of airtime was given to the idea of euthanasia in recent times, yet palliative care still operates largely without prominence.
One of the difficulties we face is that we are now more technologically equipped in matters of end of life, yet less socially equipped. We have broadly set up the individual or government as the supreme arbiter in life, however we find that both are ill equipped to speak with authority when questions of mortality arise.
Palliative care is an approach to medicine that may help us in this as it carries with it an understanding that there’s more to us than meets the eye. We shy away from a conversation about such matters to our detriment, for the conversation we are reluctant to have may one day save our life.
~ Ruth Limkin firstname.lastname@example.org