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Navigating End of Life Issues Forum and Marketplace

December 8, 2019

We had an excellent turn out of more than 90 people at our latest Navigating Local Services Forum on 28 November 2019. The topic was End of Life Issues and we heard from five keynote speakers plus a great cross section of service providers giving their two minute power pitch.

Priyanka Bhattarai from Flinders University gave an update on the progress of the development of the End of Life Directions in Aged Care Resources website. This is mainly for residential care services but it looks like there is valuable information for everyone and it is continuing to evolve. For more information go to www.eldac.com.au.

Nilda Miranda, Clinical Nurse Consultant from the Palliative Care Service told us about the wonderful services they are able to offer and how Palliative care has evolved in recent years. We are very lucky to have this service covering the area between Helensburgh to Foxground and particularly the fact that there is 24hr support available for patients to receive their services at home. We also learnt that thanks to increased funding there will soon be a specialist bereavement service available too. As Nilda said “We are the most welcome and the least welcome of clinical services” Contact Nilda nilda.miranda@health.nsw.gov.au.

Gail Jugow & Monica Sharma from Multicultural Communities Council of the Illawarra talked about their current project. They are engaging with as many different cultural groups as they can to test out the best way to start the conversation about Advanced Care Directives. They had some amusing experiences to share but also some great insights as to how to approach this sensitive topic. They advised that coming at the subject from the perspective of the children and grandchildren can help to break the ice. For more information contact gail@mcci.org.au.

Legal issues, wills and estate planning sound like dull subjects but not when presented by Eloise Young from Access Law! Eloise enthusiastically advised us about the importance of having not just a Will but making proper arrangements for Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship. She even read us a poem she is working on ‘Jack and Jill need a Will’. You will have to invite her to your next event or staff meeting to hear the finished product. There are a number of programs for older people to help with the cost of these services including a program through The Council Of The Aging (COTA). Contact Eloise eyoung@accesslawgroup.com.au or COTA www.cota.org.au for more information.

Finally we heard from Lee-Ann Wein who works professionally in the funeral industry and is also a volunteer at the local community run Tender Funerals. Lee-Ann spoke about the many options available to farewell a loved one. She spoke about some of the unique services that Tender have to offer, from family and friends participating in preparing the body to their resident choir and artists who make beautiful shrouds from soft cotton naturally coloured by flower petals. She also reminded us that funerals do not need to be rushed and that it is important to discuss your wishes in advance because it can give your family relief and comfort if they know what to do when the time comes.

Some useful contacts www.tenderfunerals.org, www.funeralcelebrants.org.au, funeraldirector@tenderfunerals.org.

In between our main speakers we heard from:

  • Home Instead – In home care including palliative care homeinstead.com.au
  • COTA – information and advocacy for older Australians including legal help cota.org.au
  • NSW Fair Trading – information and assistance with consumer issues including Funeral Insurance and disputes over contracted services fairtrading.nsw.gov.au
  • Capacity Australia – Empowering people with Dementia and their Carers to make informed decisions about treatment and palliative care capacityaustralia.org.au
  • Catholic Care – a wide range of in home aged care services and more catholiccare.dow.org.au
  • Coordinare – a new End of Life project plus some up coming funding opportunities coordinare.org.au
  • Lake Illawarra Police Community Program – Next of Kin forms; particularly for isolated and vulnerable people, there is a simple form that you can fill in and lodge at the local police station to assist in times of emergency.
  • Wollongong Memorial Gardens – Located next to the Nan Tien Temple at Berkeley, burials and ashes interments etc. They are planning a series of information days/Death Cafes next year. http://memorialgardens.wollongong.nsw.gov.au/
  • Beyond Empathy Illawarra – starting a new arts project, particularly with disadvantaged communities, using podcasts and pictures to share stories of experiences of death and dying. phillip@be.org.au

We will advertise our next forum and marketplace in early 2020 on the topic of Navigating the first 2000 days, Early Childhood Services and Supports. If you have a suggestion for a topic for future forums please contact Tessa Parsons tparsons@cigroup.org.au.

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