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Dr Fried honoured for dedication to end-of-life care

Published:  09 February 2024

Townsville University Hospital palliative care staff specialist Dr Ofra Fried has been honoured by Palliative Care Queensland for her dedication to providing compassionate end-of-life care with the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award shines a spotlight on the remarkable achievements of an individual in the sector over more than a decade.

Dr Fried said she was ‘chuffed’ to receive the award.

“I was flabbergasted to even be nominated. The notification came on quite a heavy day at work, so it was a very nice feeling to have someone out there recognise me,” she said.

“The extra special part for me, was being nominated by a nurse I had worked closely with, which said a lot about how well we worked together and demonstrated just how much teamwork is an important part of palliative care practice.”

Dr Fried has been a palliative care specialist for over 25 years and moved in the field before it was a recognised medical specialty. 

“I became increasingly interested because I saw what patients went through. In the 90s there wasn’t much available for patients at the end of their life,” she said.

“I came to the Townsville HHS in 2007 and initially worked in the palliative care centre, but I’ve since moved away from hospital-based inpatient and consultation to the SPaRTa (Specialist Palliative Rural Telehealth service) team which focuses on rural and remote palliative care by telehealth.

“This has been a hard job because there is a lot of need, it is worthwhile though, as I am passionate about improving the equity of access to best practice palliative care.”

Dr Fried said there was still work to do to improve access to palliative care.

“Particularly for people with non-malignant conditions, and ensuring our Indigenous population have equitable access and support,” she said.

“It’s also important to me to continue to improve awareness of the value of palliative care.

“Years ago, many people didn’t know or understand what palliative care was; these days many people will have some connection to a person who has received palliative care.

“This is evidence that the culture of caring, improved symptom control and support for patients and families has grown, and I would like to see that continue.”

Townsville Palliative Care Centre director Dr Claus Bader congratulated Dr Fried on the achievement.

“Ofra has been a cornerstone of the palliative care centre and her contribution to quality care has been immense,” he said.

“She has been a true beacon of compassion in our workplace, and this has had a significant impact on both the patients we serve and the colleagues fortunate enough to work alongside her. 

“Her unwavering kindness and ability to connect with others on a deep and empathetic level is a very rare and beautiful quality and has been an inspiration to all of us. 

“Ofra’s work has undoubtedly made a positive impact on everyone, creating a ripple effect of warmth and understanding which has truly made our team stronger, more compassionate and better able to provide quality care.”

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