Dispelling the myths associated with palliative care

Palliative Care is a term that’s widely misunderstood. For most people, it invokes thoughts of stress, sadness and fear. It implies the end of life, saying goodbye and living your final days in specialised care.

But for many who have experienced Palliative Care – the experience is drastically different.

The Mary Potter Foundation, South Australia’s key fundraising organisation for palliative care services at the Mary Potter Hospice at Calvary North Adelaide Hospital – is working to dispel the myths associated with palliative care.

“The fact is, we’re just not comfortable talking about death and a lot of that has to do with the fact that we think our final days are likely to be our most miserable,” The Mary Potter Foundation Executive Director Cathy Murphy said.

“But that notion is simply not true and palliative care especially is nothing like what most people imagine – it’s not about dying at all, it’s about living.”

A proudly South Australian charity, the Mary Potter Foundation was formed in 1987 when it was recognised that the Mary Potter Hospice could not survive without support from the community.

Since then, the Mary Potter Hospice has remained as one of the most important and highly regarded providers of in-patient palliative and end of life care in South Australia.

Hundreds of patients and their families spend time in the Hospice every year – and thanks to the Foundation’s continued fundraising efforts they will experience facilities and care which is comfortable, individual and meaningful.

Along with subsidising the cost of medical care, The Mary Potter Foundation funds various opportunities for patients and their families – from creative arts programs, biography service, pet visits, and music and complementary therapy to more personal experiences like anniversaries, birthdays and even weddings.

“They experience joy and peace and make every hour of every day, count – their final days are full of life, purpose and dignity,” Cathy said.

“It’s about the little things, like pouring a cold beer for a patient whose normal life would involve a daily drink at the pub to making celebratory Australia Day foods or arranging a visit to the beach.

“These are all the things that make Mary Potter Care about living and embracing every day to ensure our patients’ final days are filled with love, support and happiness.”

At present, there are 190 palliative medicine specialists across Australia, equating to less than 0.8 per 100,000 population or one for every 828 deaths.

In South Australia, Mary Potter Hospice is the key private and public provider of palliative care services and these services continue to be in high-demand.

Continued support for The Mary Potter Foundation means that more can be done to help patients and their families in the final months, weeks and days of life.

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