More Australians than ever before are going into palliative care, seeking comfort in their final days.
A report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that palliative care-related hospitalisations have been rising at a faster rate than other hospital check ins.
The report says between 2012-13 and 2016-17, palliative care-related hospitalisations rose by more than 25 per cent to above 77,000.
That number is greater than the 18 per cent increase recorded for all hospitalisations over the same period.
"Although it's difficult to be definitive about the reasons for this rise, Australia's growing and ageing population, paired with a rise in chronic and incurable illnesses, has led to an increased need for palliative care," institute spokesman Matthew James said.
Most palliative care-related hospitalisations were patients suffering cancer.
"Almost one-third of all hospitalisations related to pancreatic cancer were palliative care-related," Mr James said
'"At the core of palliative care is the aim to provide relief from pain and other distressing symptoms, and medication can be central to this."
The report, released during National Palliative Care Week, should get Australians thinking about planning ahead for their end-of-life care, Mr James added.
Australian Associated Press