There are more than 2.8 million unpaid carers in Australia. While this role is rewarding, it can be both emotionally and physically demanding, and result in significant financial, health and emotional costs.
Many people with a life-limiting illness receive care at home and carers can often experience feelings of isolation depending on the support network they can access. They are also burdened by the grief associated with the declining health of their loved one.
Palliative Care Australia (PCA) is the national peak body for palliative care, operating to influence, foster and promote the delivery of quality care and support for those with a life-limiting illness, their families and health care team.
With our funding support, PCA will develop and launch a unique app that offers a platform for the primary carer of a person with a life-limiting illness to create a community of care with their broader network of family and friends.
The app will allow carers to share their specific needs, while offering a simple and coordinated channel for family and friends to respond. It will inform people on the support needed, which may be as simple as cooking a meal, walking their dog or performing other small practical tasks that they would otherwise need to do themselves. It will also provide the person with a terminal illness a channel to communicate how much contact they would like at different stages of their condition.
The app will allow carers to share the burden of care and build a close-knit community that can support one another even after their loved-one has died.
Family and friends will understand how they can be supportive of their loved one and their immediate carer. They will be kept updated about their loved one's needs and allow them to contribute where they can, this may be small tasks needing to be completed or simply alerting them when their loved one is feeling well enough for visits.
By ensuring carers feel supported, the app will also act to help reduce the negative psychological, behavioural, and physiological impact their role may have on their daily lives and promote positive health and wellbeing.
The app will be actively promoted and accessible to more than 1,000 patients and carers.
For more information on the program visit www.palliativecare.org.au