Which health professionals can help?

Wherever you receive end-of-life care, the different health professionals in your palliative care team can be called on as the need arises. They will work together to help meet your physical, practical, emotional and spiritual needs, and provide support to your family and carers.

You may not need to see all of the people listed below, but understanding the different roles can help you work out what support is available and who to ask about particular issues. Your care may be coordinated by your GP, a community or hospital palliative care nurse, or the specialist palliative care team.

The palliative care team

  • GP − continues to see you for day-to-day health care issues and may coordinate your palliative care.
  • Specialist palliative care nurse − may work in a community or hospital setting, can provide ongoing care and may coordinate your palliative care.
  • Nurse practitioner − has had additional training and may be able to prescribe some medicines and referrals.
  • Palliative care specialist or physician − prescribes or recommends treatment for more complex symptoms associated with advanced cancer; usually works in collaboration with your GP or palliative care nurse.
  • Cancer specialists (oncologists and surgeons) − may refer you to the specialist palliative care team and continue to provide cancer treatment to help manage your symptoms.
  • Pharmacist − gives you access to prescription and over-the-counter medicines to take at home; provides advice on safety and side effects; helps you keep track of your medicines.
  • Occupational therapist − can suggest aids to help you maintain mobility, and may assess your home and suggest equipment, such as hospital beds, wheelchairs and bedside commodes.
  • Physiotherapist − helps you manage daily activities; can use physical methods to help with pain relief and lung congestion.
  • Diversional therapist − offers recreational activities to improve your wellbeing.
  • Dietitian − works out the best eating plan for you and tries to use diet to assist with digestive issues, such as nausea or constipation.
  • Speech pathologist − may work with the dietitian to help you manage eating and swallowing problems.
  • Social worker − offers counselling and emotional support; provides information and referrals for legal and financial matters, help at home, and other services; and can help you record your memories.
  • Welfare officer − can provide information and referrals for legal and financial matters.
  • Counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist − helps you work through grief, fear and other emotions; can teach you meditation or relaxation exercises; a psychiatrist may prescribe medicines to help with managing your emotions.
  • Spiritual care practitioner (pastoral carer) − talks about any spiritual matters and helps you reflect on your life and search for meaning, if appropriate; may arrange prayer services and other religious rituals.
  • Volunteers − can help with home or personal care and transport, and also offer companionship.

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on palliative care.

Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059


To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in January 2017
View who reviewed this content
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Cancer information

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Information for all stages of advanced cancer, from the initial diagnosis to palliative care and grief

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Information for family and friends providing care to someone at any stage of cancer