Dr Christina Puchalski to come to WA for National Palliative Care Week

Posted 30 Apr 2018.

A generous donation has allowed our Palliative and Supportive Care Education team to bring Dr Christina Puchalski to Perth from Washington DC for National Palliative Care week.

Dr Puchalski is an internationally renowned pioneer and leader in the movement to integrate spirituality into healthcare in clinical settings and medical education.
As the founder and director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health (GWish) and Professor of Medicine at The George Washington University in Washington DC, she continues to break new ground in the understanding and integration of spiritual care in healthcare settings.

While in WA, Dr Puchalski will be presenting at multiple events:

Public Lecture: Monday, 21st May 2018, 12.30pm - 1.30pm
State Library, Perth Cultural Centre
Finding Meaning, Living With Purpose

What will the lecture cover? The lecture will cover the role of spirituality, broadly defined as an essential aspect of whole health, as we face challenges and eventual dying. It will examine what is meant by finding your call and living your life with purpose and meaning. It will look at how illness can be a trigger for spiritual growth and the outcome of focusing on spiritual growth in developing resources for coping with illness and stress. There will also be a discussion on spiritual practices, such as mindfulness, that support one's ability to let go of control, even in the midst of illness or dying.

Who is the lecture designed for? This lecture is suitable for anyone affected by or concerned about cancer.

More information

Telehealth Video Conference: Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 2pm - 3pm
The Essential Role of Spiritual Care in Whole Person Care

Who is this designed for? Doctors, Registered Nurses, Enrolled Nurses, Allied Health Professionals, Pastoral Care Workers, Facility Managers, Aboriginal Health Workers

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Full Day Workshop for Health Professionals: Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, 9am - 4pm
Workshop Integrating Spirituality into Palliative Care: From Diagnosis to Reflection

Who is this designed for? Doctors, Registered Nurses, Enrolled Nurses, Allied Health Professionals, Facility Managers, Pastoral Care Workers, Aboriginal Health Workers

More information


National Palliative Care Week



According to Palliative Care Australia 82% of Australians think it is important to talk to their family about how they want to be cared for, yet only 28% have actually done so.

What would be important to you in those last months of life?
Where would you like to be cared for?

Most of us want the opportunity to decide these important decisions. While they can be distressing conversations to have with family, friends and your GP, they are essential to have and play an incredibly important role in the issue of care at the end of life.

National Palliative care week aims to raise awareness and understanding about palliative care in the Australian community. This year, the theme is ‘what matters most?,' addressing the need for Australians to plan ahead for their end-of-life care and discuss it with their loved ones and health professionals.

When we prepare in advance for our death we are able to relieve the decision making burden on those closest to us. Advance care planning is a process to help people plan their medical and personal care in advance. Doctors will refer to your advance care plan if you can no longer communicate or make decisions.

In WA the components of an Advance Care Plan are:

  • Enduring Power of Guardianship - appoint a substitute decision maker
  •  Advance Health Directive - to legally record a persons wishes regarding future medical treatments
  • Advance Care Plan - to document a person's advance care planning discussion and inform their substitute decision maker or doctor, to assist them in making decisions for the person.

Advance care plans enhance patient participation in their care and there is evidence that it leads to better outcomes for both patients and families, while assisting health professionals in decision-making.

However, only 7.5% of West Australians currently have an advance care plan in place. National palliative care week aims to encourage Australians to be proactive and tell their care team about what matters most to them, so their treatment can be aligned with their goals.


More information?

Learn more about National Palliative care week

Learn more about Palliative care 

Learn more about Advance Care Planning

Learn more about the palliative and support care education we provide for health professionals 

For further information or to learn more about the support we provide contact our Cancer Nurses by calling 13 11 20.


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