Caring for Someone in Their Last Months

26 August 2019

Dry JulyRead full transcript

Expert interviewed in this episode:
Jane Phillips, Professor of Palliative Nursing, University of Technology Sydney

Jane talks about caring for someone in their last months in this podcast ep

The thing about advanced cancer is that if you’re a carer, it can be daunting to think about caring for someone in their last months. You may have many questions and fears about what lies ahead and what support is available.

In this episode of The Thing About Advanced Cancer, Julie talks to Jane Phillips, Professor of Palliative Nursing, about how to care for someone when there isn’t much time left.

Jane and Julie tackle many important questions during this podcast.

For example, how do carers cope with the news? How can carers support someone who is likely to die within months or weeks?

And how can you get someone to talk about dying if they don’t want to? Or should you just avoid the topic if that’s what they seem to want?

Jane says that even if you’re expecting the news that a person close to you will die soon, it can still come as a big shock.  If you’re a carer, it’s normal to feel angry, sad or guilty. Or you may feel frightened about how it will happen and if you will cope. But there can also be a sense of relief – now you know what is going on and can focus on making your time together as special as possible.

Caring for someone can be emotionally and physically demanding – so how can you meet these demands, and at the same time make sure you’re looking after your own wellbeing? And how can the palliative care team support you as the carer?

— Prof Jane Phillips

Tune into this episode of The Thing About Advanced Cancer, and get the answers to these questions and others, or find more episodes here.

Want more information or support? 

If you heard something mentioned in the podcast, you’ll find a link to it below. We’ve also added links to other sources of information and support.

From Cancer Council NSW

Other resources

  • Palliative Care Australia – national peak body for palliative care, with information, stories and directory of services
  • Carers Australia – national body representing Australia’s carers; help for referrals, counselling and support
  • Carer Gateway – practical information and resources for carers, and links to support services in your area
  • CareSearch – palliative care information, services and evidence for patients, carers and families
  • Young Carers – supports young people (25 and under) who care for a family member or friend
  • National Carer Counselling Program – offers short-term counselling for carers
  • Beyond Blue – 24-hour telephone counselling service
  • Kids Helpline – telephone and online counselling service and crisis support for young people aged 5–25
  • Lifeline 13 11 14 – call 13 11 14 for 24-hour crisis support from a trained health professional
  • Advance Care Planning Australia – free national advisory service for the public and health professionals and online fact sheets and forms to help with advance care planning
  • Dying to Talk − Palliative Care Australia website encouraging Australians to talk about dying; includes a discussion starter
  • The GroundSwell Projectcommunity organisation using creativity to promote resilience and wellbeing throughout all phases of life
  • Clinical guidance for responding to suffering – Cancer Australia guidelines for health professionals 

Listen to Caring for Someone in Their Last Months now, or find more episodes here.