Palliative care is holistic care that is person and family-centred, provided for a person with progressive, advanced disease. Often misunderstood, the true goal of palliative care is to help people who have a life-limiting illness live their best possible life, as comfortably as possible. Palliative care is also extended to the family and carers to help them cope during the person’s illness and in their own bereavement. This is achieved by specialist teams who provide care for practical, physical, emotional, spiritual and social needs.
Palliative care is not exclusive to end-of-life care. It helps people who live with a life-limiting illness to live as fully and as comfortably as possible. Care is extended to family and carers.
Palliative care can support people from the earlier stages of their disease, through periods of fluctuating health, and when their health deteriorates towards the end of life. Care during the terminal phase of the illness where death is imminent can extend to bereavement care following death. Research suggests that early integration of palliative care with standard care can produce better outcomes such as ongoing relief of symptoms, reduced feelings of isolation, reduced presentations to hospital and increased likelihood of remaining at home during the end-of-life stage. The provision of palliative care is not limited to the hospital setting, and can also be provided in the home, residential aged care facility or hospice. Speak with your doctor, nurse, hospital contact liaison or Aboriginal Health Worker to access palliative care.
What are palliative treatments?
Palliative treatments are tailored to the individual and carers’ needs. The package of treatments including the type, number and frequency of treatments can change over the course of time as the impact and implications of the illness evolve. Find out more about common treatments and supports in palliative care below.
Pain, fatigue & other symptom management
Dietary advice & support
Daily activities & environment modifications
Connection to services
Meeting spiritual & cultural needs
Counselling & guidance
Read an overview about palliative care and access links to resources, support, and state-based organisations. Learn about funding schemes and equipment providers in Australia.