$2.25m grant enables death literacy research

Palliative care

A ground-breaking five-year study will improve the quality of palliative care in South Australia.

A ground-breaking five-year study led by the University of Adelaide, enabled by a $2.25 million grant from The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF), will seek to promote death literacy as part of a broader project to improve access to end-of-life services for vulnerable communities across South Australia.

THRF Group – Palliative Care CEO Paul Flynn, said the Group placed a huge priority on helping vulnerable community groups including those in regional and remote areas.

“Everyone deserves access to quality palliative care regardless of where they live,” Mr Flynn said.

“We are passionate about lending our support to this collaboration of palliative care experts from around Australia who, like us, are committed to making a meaningful difference in people’s lives when they need it most.”

The project is being led by Associate Professor Jaklin Eliott from the University of Adelaide, who says speaking honestly and openly about death is an important, but often under-estimated part, of palliative care.

“Death literacy refers to the knowledge and skills that make it possible to gain access to, understand and act upon end-of-life and death care options,” Associate Professor Eliott said.

“Having knowledge about death and end of life issues helps us be prepared and make informed decisions, increases our understanding of the dying process, reduces fears about death and dying, and helps improve palliative care and end of life support for patients and their carers."

Currently, palliative care is not equally available to all South Australians due to geography, awareness, economics, workforce and accessibility.

"Having knowledge about death and end of life issues helps us be prepared and make informed decisions."Associate Professor Jaklin Eliott

“Working with patients and families, with communities and not-for profit organisations, and with clinicians and policy makers, we will identify and develop resources addressing what is needed to support under-served South Australians to access end-of-life care that is preferred by and meaningful to patients and their carers,” Ms Elliott said.

Palliative care researchers from the University of Adelaide will work in collaboration with colleagues from the University of South Australia, Flinders University, and various local health networks and peak advocacy organisations to help bridge the gap for palliative care.

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