Dialog Box

Promoting palliative care and ACP to members of the Serbian and other multicultural communities


In the last several years, the Serbian Community Association of Australia Inc. (SCAA) has successfully conducted projects which have been funded by Palliative Care Victoria to provide information on the treatment, care and support available to those with a life-limiting illness.
Following this success and the positive outcomes achieved, SCAA was again engaged in 2024 to deliver a project to improve the understanding and benefits of palliative care, as well as increase conversations about decision making in advance care planning within Serbian and other Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities.

Photo: Southern Migrant Refuge Centre Information Session, Dandenong

The project activities included the delivery of information sessions and undertaking of media campaigns while promoting palliative care services and advanced care planning. As such, SCAA delivered several information sessions to the members of the Serbian, Chinese, South American communities and Multicultural groups run by Southern Migrant Refugee Centre Dandenong.

This project was also able to reach the Serbian community in Wodonga, Victoria. The Serbian community in regional Victoria experiences more challenges than their counterparts in Metropolitan Melbourne regarding access to information and programs in their native language. Having a presentation delivered by a Serbian speaking worker had a profound effect as it enabled them to actively participate in the discussions about this topic. We were pleased to see a willingness of the community to attend this session and learn more about palliative care and advance care planning.

Photo: Serbian Community Information Session, Wodonga

Throughout this project, more than 100 individuals attended information sessions and were involved in conversations about the care needs and benefits of palliative care, person centered care, advanced care needs and decision making. The sessions were tailored to provide important information and also to engage the audience in conversations about this topic. 

Interestingly, the project initially identified only a small number of participants who reported to knowing what palliative care was. Among those, and as is often the case, people associated palliative care with imminent death. Another common misconception was that palliative care is only about pain relief and only offered in the hospital when a person is at the very end of life. Projects such as these are therefore necessary to help shift the narrative of palliative care and the benefits it can provide people and their families over time, well before the final stages of life.

Photo: Chinese Community Information Sessions (L) Dandenong and (R) Preston

The project also launched media campaigns about palliative care and advance care planning through social media using the SCAA Facebook page and SBS Radio Serbian program. The interview on the SBS Serbian radio was aired during National Palliative Care Week 2024, aiming to raise awareness about palliative care and its benefits. During this interview, the Project Manager reflected on their experience in discussing palliative care with members of different communities. Most members of CALD communities had little knowledge about palliative care and advance care planning and generally associated it with end-of-life care.

The interview was aired nationwide and the project received positive feedback from the members of the Serbian community who were listening to this interview. It is estimated that over 5000 people were reached though this media outlet.

Photo: South American Community Information Session

Through this project, we expect multicultural communities to become better informed about palliative care and help encourage individuals to plan ahead and express preferences about the type of care they would like to receive, ultimately shifting their overall perception of palliative care.

This project commenced in January 2024 and will end on June 2024.

Palliative Care Victoria offers free information sessions to community groups and organisations. To find out more, or to book a session, please visit our website or contact Heike Fleischmann via hfleischmann@pallcarevic.asn.au.

Article by:
Marina Celebic, Manager
Serbian Community Association of Australia

June 2024

20 June 2024
Category: General News
Tags: ACP, advance care planning, CALD, Community, multicultural, palliative care,