Palliative care, also called supportive care, is person-centred care that helps people live as comfortably as possible. It can be used at any stage of advanced cancer – not just at end of life.
The main goal of palliative care is to maintain your quality of life. This may mean dealing with your physical, emotional, cultural, social and spiritual needs.
Find answers to questions such as how do I get palliative care and where do I have it, who is part of my palliative care team, and does palliative care mean I will die soon?
You may want to make decisions about your goals and preferences for care. This process is called advance care planning. It can involve completing advance care documents and appointing a substitute decision-maker.
Medical treatment is a key part of palliative care. It can relieve symptoms such as pain, loss of appetite and shortness of breath even if the cancer can’t be cured.
Learn about the services available to support babies, children and teenagers having palliative care.
If you are caring for someone with advanced cancer, looking after your physical and emotional needs can help you continue with your caring role.
Find out how to access services for carers, financial assistance, home help and nursing, legal information and respite care.
- Who can refer me to palliative care?
- Who will be a part of my palliative care team?
- Who will coordinate my care?
- Where will I receive palliative care?
- If I’m at home, what kind of help will be available?
- Can I contact the palliative care team at any time? Who do I call after hours?
- Will the palliative care team talk to my GP and cancer specialists about my care?
- How long will I need palliative care for? What is my prognosis?
- How can I get a second opinion about my need for palliative care?
- Do I need to see a specialist palliative care service?
- What if my condition unexpectedly improves?
- Are there other treatments available that might cure the cancer?
- If the cancer cannot be cured, what is the aim of the treatments?
- Will I receive active treatment for the cancer if I have palliative care?
- Are there any clinical trials I could join?
- If I don’t have further treatment, what should I expect?
- Are there any complementary therapies that might help?
- Can my family or carers get respite care or other assistance?
- Do I have to pay for any palliative care services?
- What financial and practical assistance is available?
- Can you help me talk to my family about what is happening?