Organising Palliative Care

Palliative care should begin when you need it. This may be when you are first diagnosed with a terminal illness or later in the course of the illness. Remember, you can receive palliative care: 

  • no matter what your age; and
  • as an adjunct to ongoing treatment.

Who do I contact to arrange it?

You may request palliative care from any health professional who cares for you. Often, your GP or specialist or community nurse is a good starting point. They may talk to you about palliative care and support as one option for ongoing professional care and support.

Is palliative care only for people with cancer?

Palliative care is available to people irrespective of disease e.g. end stage organ failure (respiratory, cardiac, renal, liver disease), neurological disease such as Motor Neurone Disease, HIV/AIDS and end stage dementia.

How long can a patient receive palliative care?

There is no limit on how long a patient can receive palliative care. However, as with all service requirements, care is provided by the most appropriate service for the requirements of the patient and family at the time.

What about palliative care for children?

Palliative care for children represents a special, albeit closely related field to adult palliative care.

A child's treating paediatric team usually manages that child's palliative care in the ACT. The palliative care team is always available for support.

You can find the World Health Organisation's definition of, and approach to, palliative care for children here.

More information

Asking Questions Can Help is a booklet produced by Palliative Care Australia to answer some of the questions you may have about palliative care.

It is understandable there may be topics that you do not want to read about at the moment. We suggest you read the headings first and then decide whether you wish to read the questions about that topic. View booklet here.

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