To improve access to care and support for people who are receiving palliative care, their carers and families, NSW Health is now providing a palliative care after hours helpline.
What is Palliative Care? Palliative care is that part of healthcare provided to people who have a life-limiting condition. Palliative care provides treatment and care for people who are dying and supports their carers and families. Maintaining the best quality of life possible is the priority. Managing symptoms is an important part of this. Palliative care addresses physical symptoms such as pain or nausea as well as helping with emotional, spiritual and social needs.
The Palliative Care After Hours Helpline is a new service that provides additional support at night, on weekends and public holidays.
The Helpline can support you, your carers, parents and other family members if you are receiving palliative care.
Here are some reasons you or someone caring for you might call the Helpline:
- Your usual doctor, nurse or palliative care service is not available after hours.
- You are experiencing pain, a change in symptoms or any other concerning symptoms.
- You have a question about medication.
- You have a problem with your equipment (e.g. syringe pump).
- You would like support to manage your concerns, worries or fears.
When you contact the Helpline you will first speak to a registered nurse with training in palliative care who will provide advice and support. The call will be transferred to a specialist palliative care nurse if the issue is more complex.
A summary of the call will be provided to your palliative care provider or GP to keep them informed. The summary of the call includes the reason for the call (for example, pain or other symptoms) and the outcome. (for example, the advice provided). The nurse will ask for your name and the name and fax number of your palliative care provider. This information will be recorded for you on the Palliative Care After Hours Helpline brochure given to you by your palliative care provider or GP. The magnetic brochure can be kept in an easily accessible place, such as on the fridge.
There is no charge for the advice and support that is provided. The phone call is free from landlines, Telstra payphones and some mobile phones depending on your contract.
When is the Helpline available?
The Helpline operates weekdays from 5pm – 9am (AEST), on weekends from 5pm Friday to 9am Monday, and on Public Holidays.
The Helpline is available for people living in NSW.
Contact the Helpline
The Helpline can be contacted using the National Relay Service. The Helpline number is 1800 548 225.
During daylight saving time the Helpline can be contacted using the VRS from 8am to 9am in the morning and 5pm to 7pm in the eventing. During standard time from 7am to 9am in the morning and 5pm to 6pm in the evening.
TTY can be used to contact the Helpline from 5pm to 9am on weekdays, weekends and public holidays.
Some palliative care services offer their own after hours telephone and nursing support. Before you call the Helpline, check with your palliative care provider whether the Helpline is the most suitable after hours support for you, your carers and family.
Last reviewed: June 2016