Managing Symptoms

A comprehensive assessment of symptoms is required before a management plan can be put in place. Palliative care patients often have quite complex problems that do not always respond to conventional treatments.

Symptoms can be physical, psycho-social or spiritual and are often best managed through a multidisciplinary approach. Prioritising which symptoms need to be addressed first may help to improve the patient’s quality of life, without introducing too many interventions all at once. The patients’ priorities may be different from those that you identify.

Specific symptoms that Allied Health Professionals may be involved in include: Fatigue management, dyspnoea, pain, mobility, pressure areas, anxiety, dysphagia and communication, anorexia.


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  • The Palliative Care Curriculum for Undergraduates (PCC4U) program has a Learning Module on Goals of care and on Symptom Assessment
  • Current Learning in Palliative Care (CLIP) has 15 minute online tutorials on the following symptoms: 
    • Constipation
    • Fatigue
    • Lethargy
    • Drowsiness and Weakness
    • Breathlessness
    • Oral Problems
    • Nausea and Vomiting
    • Bowel Obstruction
    • Oedema
    • Lymphoedema
    • Confusion.

For Patients, Carers and Families




Last updated 18 April 2019