Access to palliative care with a life-limiting illness

Referral to palliative care can be helpful at any point with a life-limiting illness. There are different ways you can be referred.  Raising the subject of palliative care can be hard. You and your family may find this, and so will some health professionals. Talking about death and dying can be stressful because many people feel it is easier to avoid the subject.

Timing of referral

It is more helpful if you are referred early. For example, from the first diagnosis of a terminal illness. This referral can come from a health professional. You or your family members can ask to be referred. You can talk to your doctor about your need for support. You can contact your local palliative care service to ask them about referral.

Your right to care

The National Palliative Care Strategy and the Australian Charter of Aged Care Rights remind us that that the each person, including someone approaching the end of their life, requires compassion and care that recognises who they are and what matters most to them.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care defines key dimensions of person-centred care that individuals have a right to expect including:

  • respect,
  • emotional support,
  • physical comfort,
  • information and communication,
  • continuity and transition,
  • care coordination,
  • involvement of carers and family, and
  • access to care.

Charter of Healthcare Rights (70kb pdf)

Last updated 02 August 2021