VASS partnered with the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) and Palliative Care Victoria to deliver the Culturally Responsive Palliative Care Project to the Arabic Speaking Background (ASB) communities of Victoria. The project enabled members of the ASB community to attend culturally and linguistically appropriate education sessions which raised awareness about palliative care services available, and how palliative care can help people with a life-limiting illness and their families to have the best possible quality of life. A life-limiting illness is an incurable illness such as cancer and chronic illnesses such as heart disease, lung disease, motor neurone disease, advanced dementia and kidney disease.
The Palliative Care project comprised of several stages. In the initial stage, VASS staff and volunteers took part in four reference group meetings with project organisers. The information from the reference group meetings was used to inform training materials for the Arabic speaking bilingual educators and information handouts which are culturally appropriate and meet the community’s needs. The training of bilingual educators formed the second stage of the project. These educators could then be booked by other service providers to provide in-language palliative care information to their ASB clients.
Another aspect of the project involved educating palliative care service providers to enable them to provide more inclusive and culturally appropriate services to clients of culturally diverse backgrounds, to ensure they were not missing out on these vital, and mostly free, services.
The Culturally Responsive Palliative Care project for the ASB community was launched at VASS Head Office in Broadmeadows by the Victorian Minister for Health, the Hon. David Davis. This project also services Croatian, Greek, Macedonian and Polish communities along side the ASB community.