The Australian LGBTIQA+ Multicultural Council (AGMC) has been asked by Palliative Care Victoria to work together in order to improve end-of-life care for multicultural, multifaith LGBTQIA+ communities. 

According to Palliative Care Victoria CEO Violet Platt, because “half the population of Victoria belongs to [multicultural, multifaith] communities, it is timely to explore how palliative care services can address issues of diversity and inclusion so that [palliative care] is accessed by all minority groups.”

In an interview with Star Observer, AGMC Ally Committee Member and Research Lead, Dr Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, explains, “What we’re finding is that people haven’t thought about it, or don’t want to think about it.

“Then they find themselves in a situation of overwhelming grief, and suddenly the overwhelming mental health concerns around ‘what do I do, who do I go to? I’m going to have no rights here? I don’t know what to do is really it can be overwhelming.’ So we tried to do a lot of work now to prevent that.”

Pallotta-Chiarolli went on to give an example, “If you’re a Muslim, gay man, and you’re not out to your family, how do you plan in advance care planning, how do you plan a directive? How do you ensure that your partner, your families of choice, that you have a say in how your end of life, and of course, death will be handled.”

According to AGMC co-researcher Budi Sudarto, “Members of multicultural and multifaith LGBTIQA+ communities don’t always have family members to look after them and provide end-of-life care, especially if they migrated to Australia on their own. 

“This project has the potential to open up conversation about palliative care and advance care planning to access services that embrace our intersectionality, identify people that we love and trust to care for us so we can keep and maintain our agency, rights and dignity.” 

The process is starting with an anonymous survey followed by a forum at the Victorian Pride Centre on July 27.

AGMC and Palliative Care Victoria are looking for Victorian multicultural, multifaith members of LGBTQIA communities that are or may be the recipients of care as well as providers of that care. 

“We’re starting with an anonymous very simple survey to figure out what’s actually known, what are the needs, and then we’re going to have a forum discussion,” Pallotta-Chiarolli says. 

“This is something that’s so uncomfortable that people may not want to even look at a survey about but it’s something that is really very relevant for our communities.” 

The survey, which is open until Friday, 15 July,  can be accessed here.

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