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More Tasmanians accessing palliative care

Medical hospital

Tasmania's ageing population has led to palliative care-related hospitalisations rising faster than any other type.

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 visits.

Between 2012 and 2017, palliative care-related hospitalisations rose by more than 25 per cent to more than 77,000.

Tasmania's rate is the country's highest with 42 per 10,000 head of population.

"Paired with a rise in chronic and incurable illnesses and people living longer, this has led to an increased need for palliative care," said Palliative Care Tasmania CEO Colleen Johnstone.

"One hundred per cent of us will die, 85 per cent of us will have an expected death, 70 per cent of us want to die at home, but we are seeing gaps in the at-home service," she said.

Most palliative care-related hospitalisations were patients suffering cancer.

"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."

She said palliative care services available in Tasmania can't keep up with demand.

"We need more funding across the board. We're hopeful more money will be allocated in tomorrow's state Budget."

She has been lobbying the Tasmanian Government for an after-hours helpline in the state's south. She said a service was currently being trialled in the north and that it was also being rolled out in the north-west.

The report, released during National Palliative Care Week, should get Tasmanians thinking about planning ahead for their end-of-life care," Ms Johnstone added.