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Barwon Health launches Room 64 - A Palliative Care Podcast

Monday, 20 May 2019

Most people find it difficult to talk about death but Barwon Health’s new weekly podcast series will aim to break down the conversational barriers around dying, terminal illness, and palliative care.

Room 64 – A Palliative Care Podcast will launch its first of four initial episodes on 20 May to coincide with Palliative Care Week, featuring interviews with a wife and daughter of former patients at the McKellar Centre, as well as staff working in end-of-life care.

The volunteer-produced podcast is named after the room where Anglesea centenarian Evelyn Brooks spent her final three weeks last May, and was the idea of her daughter Christine.

Ms Brooks said she wanted people to gain a better understanding of palliative care experiences, including the way people discuss the challenging topic of dying and death.

“While I was sitting in Room 64 hanging out with Mum, I thought ‘how come I don’t know about any of this stuff and it’s all new to me?’” she said.

“That whole discussion around palliative care and the resources available doesn’t happen, and my mum certainly didn’t want to talk about death.

“Room 64 is more than just a medical room in the Palliative Care Unit – it’s one of the places people go at the end of their life and I wanted to reflect that in a meaningful way. That room has happy times, sad times, lots of love and laughter, and lots of stories to tell.

“This podcast is trying to encourage conversation through lived experience. It’s important for other members of the community to hear about these experiences and see palliative care is not just about old people dying.

“I think we’ve added to the conversation about palliative care, death, and dying. If Room 64 can make even a sliver of difference to the conversations going on in families, with people in communities, about death and dying and the resource of palliative care, we’ll have done a great job.”

Former BBC documentary producer Dominic Black helped host and produce the podcast series after learning about the Dignity Therapy program for palliative care patients at the McKellar Centre.

“I wanted to help tell some personal stories with some perspective from people in the field,” he said.

“The podcast is aimed at anybody who will listen and I think it’s a good entry point into the topic of death and dying, and being able to hear some stories that make it easier to approach.

“There are a lot of very valuable enriching conversations that can be had around something that’s not very pleasant to think about. The one thing in life you can never do is stop people from dying eventually.

“The thing that comes across from everybody is that palliative care is everybody’s business, and as communities looking forward, you want to grow the capacity for people to engage.”

The podcast can be streamed or downloaded at www.barwonhealth.org.au/podcasts, as well as podcast subscription services including iTunes and Spotify.

Room 64 | A Palliative Care Podcast

Credits:

Presented by Christine Brooks and Dominic Black
Produced by Christine Brooks, Jen Walsh and Dominic Black
Special thanks to Jill Carter, Melanie Davies, Dr Ian Grant, Jonathan Muller, Sue Ritter, Jacqui White and the Barwon Health Palliative Care Unit.

Thanks also to Dianne Johnston for transcribing all the interviews.

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