Culturally Responsive Palliative Care Project

Victorian Minister for Health David Davis announced a landmark project during 2013 National Palliative Care Week which aims to raise awareness of palliative care and improve access to culturally responsive palliative care for Victorians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

"The Culturally Responsive Palliative Care Project is part of a wider Victorian Coalition Government strategy to ensure all Victorians have access to specialist palliative care when it is most needed," Mr Davis said.

"This new project will engage with the Chinese, Italian, Maltese, Turkish and Vietnamese communities to raise awareness of the palliative care services available and how they can be accessed.

"The project has been developed through active engagement with key stakeholders and will apply best practice approaches to health promotion and peer education within culturally and linguistically diverse communities, drawing on experiences in gambling, dementia and cancer education," said Associate Professor Brian Le, chair of Palliative Care Victoria.

In 2010 Palliative Care Victoria sought new funding to improve access to palliative care by people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds as they were not well represented among service users.

"Over the past two years Palliative Care Victoria has held community forums, worked with ethnic community and palliative care stakeholders, and commissioned independent research to determine how best to improve culturally and linguistically diverse access to palliative care services," Associate Professor Le said.

"The culmination of this work is our partnership with ECCV, which is made possible by funding from the Victorian Government."

The Victorian Government provided an additional $34.4 million investment in palliative care for 2011-15, which includes funding for the culturally responsive palliative care strategy.

Palliative Care Victoria is overseeing the implementation of the project, and has signed a service agreement with ECCV, which will manage the roll out of the project with the identified ethnic communities.

"It is pleasing that our long term partnership on palliative care issues has resulted in this significant project being developed and we look forward to working together to ensure the objectives of the project are delivered over the coming year," said ECCV chairperson Joe Caputo OAM.

The communities to be included in the first year of the project were selected with reference to the likely need for palliative care based on their demographic profile, their interest in participation, as well as capacity to participate at this time.

The peer education component of the project will focus on communities in south east, east, west and northern metropolitan Melbourne; while the tailored ethnic media and communications activities will take a community wide focus.

Following the implementation of the project with the initial five culturally and linguistically diverse communities, the aim is to expand it to include more of Victoria’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities in coming years. An independent evaluation of the project will be undertaken to inform this work.

The project announcement coincides with the National Palliative Care Week which runs from 19 to 25 May 2013, and has the theme 'Palliative Care: Everyone’s business'.

"It is especially pleasing to announce this unique initiative during National Palliative Care Week, as we focus on the important role that Victorian palliative care services play in promoting the quality of life of people with life limiting illness," said Mr Davis.

Palliative Care Facts and Figures

Demand for palliative care services and support in Victoria is expected to grow by at least 4.6 per cent per year.

Victoria's culturally and linguistically diverse population is ageing more rapidly than its average population. Between 2011 and 2026 the proportion of the culturally and linguistically diverse population that is aged 80 and over is projected to increase from 25.9 per cent (compared with 27.5 per cent for those Australian-born) to 28.7 per cent (compared with 22.4 per cent for those Australian-born).

A growing body of international evidence indicates that palliative care improves the quality of life of people with a life limiting illness and their families and provides more effective use of health resources.

There is a comparatively low utilisation of palliative care services among culturally and linguistically diverse communities. In 2008/09, only 6.93 per cent of the 435,475 contacts provided by community palliative care were provided to people whose preferred language was not English whereas nearly 24 per cent of Victorians speak a language other than English at home.

Other resources

Victoria has a state-wide network of community and inpatient palliative care service providers. Call Palliative Care Victoria to find out more on 1800 660 055 or visit

Media releases and resources are available at

Further background about the Culturally Responsive Palliative Care Strategy and information about palliative care in 23 community languages is available at:

Media releases

Palliative care sessions prove popular with Key Communities

Victorian Health Minister endorses palliative care education for Maltese community

Palliative care brings relief to families

Victorian Health Minister endorses palliative care education for Turkish community

Palliative Care sessions for the Vietnamese Community

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Filed under Aged Care, Diversity, Education, Health, Immigration, Multiculturalism, Population and Training

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