Palliative care services

Palliative care services aim to maintain and, where possible, improve the quality of life of patients and their families facing problems associated with life-threatening illness.

Palliative care for adults:

  • provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
  • affirms life and regards dying as a normal process
  • intends neither to hasten or postpone death
  • integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care
  • offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death
  • offers a support system to help the family cope during the patient's illness and in their own bereavement
  • uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement support, as indicated
  • enhances quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of an illness
  • is applicable early in the course of any illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as in the case of cancer, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications

(Source: World Health Organization (WHO) definition of palliative care 2002)

Palliative care team members visit patients at home provide symptom control and support, both for the patient and his/her loved ones. They also offer telephone advice.

The team looks after patients who have cancer or who have another progressive illness, such as heart failure, chronic respiratory disease, a neurological condition, and many more.

Services may see a patient at any stage of their illness: they may be involved for a short time when a patient is first diagnosed, to help them in the process, or for some nearing death.

In addition, they provide care at other times of need, for example in bereavement.

In this video, Su talks about how palliative care nurse, Karen, supported her through difficult times:

Eligibility criteria and referrals

Eligibility criteria and referrals vary according to location. For details, choose a service from the list below the map.

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