Occupational therapists can suggest modifications to your home to aid your independence and ensure your safety. They can also provide special equipment and show you how to use it, as well as advise your caregivers on lifting, transport and hygiene.
Palliative physiotherapy can help you manage pain, incontinence, lymphoedema (swelling caused by lymphatic problems) and other symptoms. A physiotherapist can also help you recover from operations and work on your mobility.
Dietary advice may become more important as your illness progresses, especially if your appetite and digestive system are not co-operating with your will to remain as healthy as you can. A dietician can help with eating plans and nutritional supplements, among other things.
Also available are the many people who donate time and can take you to your medical appointments or shopping, help you with housework and gardening and can provide respite for your caregivers.
Specialist teams or services
Although many health care workers offer palliative care as part of a wider range of services, some health professionals specialise in such care. They are usually part of a specialist palliative care team or service, and can include doctors, nurses and any of the health professionals listed above.
Members of these teams are highly experienced in helping people with difficult and complex problems and are very good at talking with people about their condition.
You can talk to your doctor or nurse if you would like access to a specialist palliative care service, or you can contact a service directly. Palliative Care Australia has a National Palliative Care Service Directory (see contact details at the end of this chapter). Receiving care from a specialist palliative care service does not mean you need to stop seeing your other doctors. Palliative care can complement other forms of treatment at any time during your illness.
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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