Some people avoid palliative care services because they think they are “not at that stage yet”. Referral to a palliative care service is not governed by the stage of your disease or how long you are expected to live. Such care is appropriate if and when you, your carer or family identify needs that are complex or simply not being met. Your needs may be medical, emotional, social or spiritual.
The benefits of palliative care include:
- Practical help that may allow you to be cared for at home or in another place of your choice.
- Co-ordination of your care between the many different people involved.
- Information about all aspects of your care.
- Physical, emotional and social support for you, your caregivers and family.
- Help to make practical changes around the house to reduce stress and frustration.
- Help to identify your priorities and to live as well as possible for as long as possible.
- Information and support on bereavement, loss and grief.
Q: How long is it feasible for me to remain at home alone?
A: You can stay at home for as long as you wish, provided you have adequate support from community nurses and carers, and your symptoms are manageable. If you live alone, a community nurse will discuss with you how much help you need with daily living. Your carers need to be able to cope with any decline in your health and you need to be aware that the risk of distressing symptoms, such as a catastrophic bleed, may make hospitalization necessary in some cases.
(Source: Helen Moore, Service Manager, Palliative Care, Calvary Health Care Sydney)
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Life, Hope & Reality was developed and written by Afaf Girgis, Claire Johnson, and Sylvie Lambert with funding from the NHMRC and Cancer Council NSW.
Last updated 30 August 2015