AMID increasing national talk on voluntary assisted dying, Anglican priest Father Martin Nadarajan wants to re-focus this city's conversation on palliative care.
And he hopes younger generations are listening.
Voluntary assisted dying laws have been in play for two years in Victoria and, while important, Father Nadarajan felt palliative care and how it works in Ballarat had got lost in the bigger end-of-life issue.
He said palliative care need greater awareness as an option in the community, particularly among younger generations who might unexpectedly find themselves grappling with care giving or how to support their loved ones as care-givers.
Palliative care is a session focus for a new Conversations in the Cathedral series, now postponed to September due to the Victorian snap lockdown. Father Nadarajan hopes the prospect will get people thinking ahead of the session, which will feature leading geriatrician Mark Yates and Ballarat Hospice Care.
"It's just a starting point for conversations. We want stuff to tickle people's brains and hope they will then go and talk about it with others," Father Nadarajan said.
"The response to our first series was really good with day-to-day topics...Moving forward, because people are warming up to it, we want to be a bit more brave."
Ballarat Hospice Care clinical operations manager Melanie Mattinson said too often people thought palliative care was about dying when it was about living and dying well for patients and care-givers.
Ms Mattinson said there was also a misconception palliative care was for older people but really it could support people of all ages with life-limiting conditions when cure was no longer the aim of treatment.
"Palliative care is supporting people physically, but also psychosocially and emotionally. From Ballarat Hospice's point of view, it's supporting all those in the home," Ms Mattinson said.
"When our staff are visiting or supporting people via phone, we're checking in on the emotional well-being of patient, family and carers.
"We're helping to address their concerns on well-being and fears. Many people have a fear of dying and we can explore that fear with them.
"We also look at other supports to help care for someone at home and plan for future choices."
We're helping to address their concerns on well-being and fears. Many people have a fear of dying and we can explore that fear with them.Melanie Mattinson, Ballarat Hospice Care
Ms Mattinson said the pandemic had made people more aware of their choices and a chance to limit hospital time to be at home.
Conversations in the Cathedral will re-launch with a focus on the everyday basics people can do to help make Ballarat a sustainable city - politics aside - on August 15.
The series will also explore Christians and the Law, when faith and the legal system seem at odds; and Faith and the City, featuring Anglican bishop Garry Weatherill, well-known Catholic priest Justin Driscoll and Ballarat mayor Daniel Moloney in how faith might help tackle the region's social issues.
All sessions feature community experts and explore pastoral potential in the Anglican Church of Christ the King's hall.
For more information on palliative care, visit ballarathospicecare.org.au.
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