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What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care will affect all of us at some stage in our lives whether as a patient, carer, family member, neighbour or friend. However, many of us do not understand what palliative care is.

When someone has an illness that cannot be cured and will lead to death, palliative care may be suggested. Palliative care is that part of healthcare provided to people who have a progressing illness that will lead to death. Cure is no longer the aim of treatment. Instead, maintaining the best quality of life possible becomes the priority.

Managing symptoms is an important part of this. Palliative care addresses physical symptoms such as pain or nausea as well as helping with emotional, spiritual and social needs.

This section provides information on how palliative care is provided in Australia.

Information on particular patient, carer and family needs and issues can be found in the Patients, Carers and Families section. Health professional information can be found in Clinical Evidence and CareSearch Hubs.

The pages are not intended to replace the care or advice of your health professionals. They provide information on what palliative care is and its role in the health system.

Page updated 09 February 2016