Advance care planning
Advance care planning is a “process of reflection, discussion and communication that enables a person to plan for their future medical treatment and other care, for a time when they are not competent to make, or communicate, decisions for themselves” (Royal Australian College of General Practitioners). A key step in advance care planning is to establish how the patient would like decisions to be made about their care if they were too unwell to speak for themselves.

General Practice Nurse
A general practice nurse is a registered nurse or an enrolled nurse who is employed by, or whose services are otherwise retained by, a general practice. (APNA)

Palliative care
Palliative care can be defined as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual” (World Health Organisation).

Supportive care
Supportive care is care that eases the symptoms of a disease or the side effects of treatment for a disease. Supportive care does not cure the disease. It is aimed at improving quality of life and it addresses the psychological, social and spiritual needs of patients and their carers (Fitch, 1994).


APNA About General Practice Nursing Online accessed on 8 August 2016 at

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Advance Care Planning. Available at:

World Health Organisation. 2016. Definition of Palliative Care. Available at:

Fitch MI. 1994. Providing supportive care for individuals living with cancer (Task Force Report). Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation: Toronto.

Last updated 02 March 2017