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Consumer Advisory Committee

Jim Good, Chair of CAC

Jim Good, Chair of CAC

My name is Jim Good, and I am currently the chair of the Eastern Palliative Care Consumer Advisory Committee. Since the passing of my partner from metastatic breast cancer at the age of 54 in early 2018, I have become involved in community volunteering, mainly as a consumer representative for health care organisations. 
 
I am particularly interested in community palliative care for a few reasons, but the main one is due to my experience as a carer for my late partner, who was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in early 2016, and faced not only an aggressive cancer that seemed determined to cheat her out of any decent quality of life, but caused her many social, emotional and end of life challenges. Challenges that included many physical disabilities caused by the ongoing spread of the disease, and many psychological issues as she faced the prospect of a shortened life even though she had “beaten” the cancer in 2011.
 
During this very difficult time, we were fortunate enough to have been blessed with the service provided by Eastern Palliative Care, especially after she made the decision not to continue treatment in July 2017. We found that the nurse visits, the nurses themselves, the social support, emotional support, and the degree of information about the road ahead was exemplary at all times. This contradicted all other experiences we had with other healthcare providers, where we had to battle to get any help at all, let alone any information about her disease and prognosis. One would say that we were “raving fans” of EPC!
 
I see the Consumer Advisory Committee as a key means of ensuring that community participation in the ongoing design and implementation of the services provided by EPC occurs, and provides valuable insights and advice in regards to the communities expectations and needs at all levels of operations, policy development and planning.  
 
As a member of the CAC, I not only have my chance to give something back to EPC and the community on behalf of myself and my late partner, but also see great opportunities to develop and expand the ways in which the committee and its members can get involved in the improvement of services.
 
The Committee is also a sounding board for EPC staff to gain advice on issues experienced whilst delivering the service to consumers, bounce off ideas for improvement and new services, and be a tick off point for the review of external documents and educational kits, with the aim of making them more user friendly and inclusive.

Like a lot of the volunteers at EPC, most of the committee have lived experience of EPC services, and I can see a big opportunity to be involved with training of staff, possibly in the form of videos or being actually involved directly in training where suitable.
 
I also see the CAC members as another group of people that can spread the word about EPC services, and indeed use their networks to help dissolve the myths that exist in the community about palliative care. For example, in 2019, I invited an ambassador to speak at two community activity groups I volunteer at, and the groups were not only amazed at the range of services available at EPC, but I believe left the session with a whole new perspective on what palliative care is.
 
The opportunities for the Committee and its members to help EPC and its consumers to not only continue to receive top class care, but look for new and better ways to do so, are seemingly endless.