Introduction and Overview
Purpose and Meaning
It’s natural to want to die peacefully and without pain. This is what most people would prefer.
This desire for a peaceful death is reflected in the stage of care called ‘palliative care’ which seeks to control pain – both physical and mental – sufficiently to make peace of mind possible at the end of life.
Physical pain we can all understand, but ‘spiritual pain’ can also cause great distress, said Andrew Allsop from Silver Chain and Palliative Care Australia. This is why psychological, social and spiritual care is such an important part of palliative care.
Here, ‘spiritual’ refers to what gives purpose to our lives, and to our sources of meaning and hope. Spirituality refers to the way we experience our connection to ourself, to others, to our world and to the significant or sacred (Meaningful Ageing Australia).
Despite the importance of the spiritual side, it is in our experience generally neglected.
The ‘Pure Land Centre’ aims to restore the natural balance and give primary attention to the emotional and spiritual aspects at the end of life. The Pure Land Centre is about creating a peaceful and virtuous environment in a purpose-built, multifaith, facility in Perth, Western Australia.
Why does the environment need to be ‘virtuous’ as well as ‘peaceful’? A simple example of this virtuous attitude is feeling grateful for others’ help rather than worried about leaving your most precious things behind.
In short, the Pure Land Centre will put into practice some of the aspirations in the May 2017 Joint Position Statement of Palliative Care Australia and Meaningful Ageing Australia. It will provide homely accommodation and a conducive atmosphere for those who wish to focus on the emotional and spiritual aspects in their last weeks.