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Palliative care can give the best possible quality of life to someone whose illness can’t be cured.

Palliative care can give the best possible quality of life to someone whose illness can’t be cured.
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Palliative care

3-minute read

Palliative care aims to give the best possible quality of life to someone who is seriously ill and expected to die. It helps people live their life as fully and as comfortably as possible.

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is an attempt to look after all the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of someone with a serious illness that cannot be cured.

It does not mean the end of all treatment. It means making choices about which treatments are important, and which are not.

People can receive palliative care in almost all places where health care is provided, such as hospitals and general practices, as well as in specialist centres such as hospices, and in their own homes. Most people are cared for by their own doctor in partnership with other specialists and community palliative care nurses, in close cooperation from family and friends.

In some cases specialist palliative care services are involved, mainly for people with complicated or severe conditions.

Many palliative care services provide specific support not only for the person who is dying, but also for families and carers.

Choices

It is important to understand what palliative care can offer and the range of services available. This will allow you to make better decisions about what kind of care is suitable, where to have it, and when to make a change.

Even if you are undergoing active treatment, you can still benefit from palliative care. It’s a good idea to discuss the options with your doctor. If you have advanced disease, it’s important to discuss your prognosis, wishes, values and end of life planning with your doctor.

When someone is nearing the end of their life and comes to a hospital department such as emergency or intensive care, it’s important for them and their family to have a clear plan of the goals of care, as well as their wishes around medical treatment, so this can be discussed with the doctors.

For further information about palliative care recommendations speak to your General Practitioner or visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.

Finding services

Your doctor, community health centre, or local health department can provide information on palliative care and other relevant care services.

Palliative care services

National and state resources

There are a range of national resources and state resources for people receiving palliative care and their carers. These government and non-government services relate to medical, financial and psychosocial support.

You can also visit the PalliAGED website for information on palliative care and end of life care and services for older Australians.

Disease-specific resources

Information from disease-specific organisations.

Are you a carer or helping someone out?

Carers are everyday people who provide unpaid and ongoing care and support to someone they know who has a disability, mental illness, drug or alcohol dependency, chronic condition, terminal illness or who is frail.

Support for carers

Find practical information and useful resources for carers on Carer Gateway. You can also learn more about carers' support and services in your state or territory through Carers Australia.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: March 2019

Recommended links

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Palliative care in the NT - NT.GOV.AU

Territory Palliative Care services, contact information and palliative care resources.

Read more on NT Health website

The Role of Specialist Palliative Care

Not everyone needs to see specialist palliative care or hospice services.For those with complex needs, being referred early to a palliative care service can be helpful. Palliative care services work with health professionals in the community. They also work alongside other specialist services such as cancer, cardiac, and renal services.

Read more on CareSearch website

Palliative Care Services

Palliative care is specialised care and support provided for someone living with a life-limiting illness. You can access databases to help you find a specialist palliative care service near you. Other types of services are also included in the database.

Read more on CareSearch website

What does palliative care cost? | Australian Government Department of Health

Most palliative care services are free, but there may be some costs associated with hospice and hospital care.

Read more on Department of Health website

Rural and Remote

There can be a range of needs for rural palliative care patients and their families, including access to palliative care services, information about illness, practical care and support

Read more on CareSearch website

It's Not Just Cancer

Palliative care provides support and care for many people with cancer. People living with other diseases are also being offered palliative care services. This may include people who have: Alzheimers' disease, AIDS, Motor Neurone Disease and multiple sclerosis,advanced lung, heart, kidney and liver disease , disabling stroke and other neurological diseases, and dementia.

Read more on CareSearch website

Mental Illness

It is important that people who have a mental illness and who find that they have a life limiting illness are able to access the help they need. There are many services that can help if someone has had a mental illness history, or if they are caring for someone with a mental illness. Mental Health and Palliative Care Services can work together to best meet the needs of people requiring palliative care and their families

Read more on CareSearch website

Welcome to Palliative Care | Palliative Care

Welcome to Palliative Care

Read more on Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services website

Financial Help and Advice

People will sometimes experience financial difficulties. It is important to get the help and advice that is needed at an early stage. Different organisations can help.

Read more on CareSearch website

Palliative Care

Palliative Care is offered to patients whose disease is no longer curable. The goal of Palliative Care is to achieve the best quality of life for children and their families.

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

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