National Palliative Care Week 2018

Photo: Director Sari Braithwaite and Helen May
National Palliative Care Week runs from the 20-26 May and SAcommunity had the opportunity to find out more about how this week acts to raise the discussion of dying from Palliative Care SA

In the course of a big life

“Have you ever thought about what dying is like? Death affects us all, and we can only help each other if we are comfortable talking about it,” says Tracey Watters, CEO Palliative Care South Australia.
This week is national palliative care week. It is the biggest campaign in Australia that encourages people to talk about dying, death and bereavement. “We want to get Australian’s to think about these topics and to talk about what matters most. Only then can you put plans in place,” she says.
To celebrate, 450 people attended a film screening of Papers Trails, the story of famous Australian (and South Australian for a time) Anne Deveson who at 85 was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and wanted to archive the many papers and stories she had documented throughout her life before it was too late, and donate them to the national library.
It was a very fitting event to officially launch palliative care week in South Australia. In an insightful interview following the screening film director, Sari Braithwaite talked about why she did the film and the continuing impact her time with Anne had on her life.
“I was researching film censorship”, said Sari, and I stumbled across an article which Anne had written which was very irreverent and very funny. It became clear to me she had had an extraordinary life, and I had no idea who she was. “I met her, loved her, went home and googled her. And that’s how our friendship began.”
We completely understand people might imagine that by considering palliative care hope is dashed, but the reality is Palliative Care is about ‘living’ and focuses on providing people with emotional and spiritual support, pain relief and comfort care enabling them and their family to get on with living and make the most of time remaining. Paper Trails is the embodiment of ‘what matters most’.
We urge you to use national palliative care week to spark conversations about quality care at the end of life. For more information visit

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