Palliative care is provided for someone who is really sick and not going to get better. The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life of patients - to provide comfort, and to help them be as comfortable and active as possible.
It can help with relief from pain, suffering, and other symptoms that may be affecting the person. Palliative care is not just about helping with physical concerns - it can also assist with social, emotional, cultural, and spiritual concerns. Supportive care for a person who is getting ready to finish-up is about health professionals working together to do what the person wants. Palliative care services can help patients to remain in their community if that is what they wish. They can help family, carers, and community members learn how to care for someone who is finishing up.
I had help from palliative nurses… and when it got to the end he just couldn’t get out of bed. But they were lovely because they gave me a bed in the hospital in the room with him - right to the end, yeah.
A carer’s story.
Source: Kelly J, Dwyer J, Mackean T, Willis E, O’Donnell K, Battersby M, et al. Managing Two Worlds Together: Study 3 - The Experiences of Patients and Their Carers (902kb pdf). Melbourne: The Lowitja Institute; 2011. Page 22.
The doctor said that some of her organs were shutting down and that she had only a few months to live. Kylie visited her and asked what she wanted to do, who she wanted with her and where she wished to be... The woman wanted to go home and say goodbye to family and friends … she returned home in time to reconnect with family and share stories.
Clinical Services Coordinator Kylie recalls coordinating an End-of-life Journey for a renal patient.
Kelly J, Herman K, Martin G, Wilden C, East T, Russell C, et al. Managing Two Worlds Together: Study 3 - The Experiences of Patients and Their Carers (902kb pdf). Melbourne: Lowitja Institute and Flinders University; 2015. Page 5.
They are getting better at sorting out the pain now. There was a time when I couldn’t get off the floor for two days, and they gave me something that didn’t agree with me at all. I was that sick. It was then that I thought ‘I’m ready to go’, and I got everyone to come down. That’s how bad I was. I now take a smaller tablet, and have a patch, and take some concentrated medicine instead. In the past two or three months I’ve only been sick one day.
A patient's story. From 'Gone Fishing'.
Source: Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District: Shoalhaven Palliative Care and Aboriginal Health Building Relationships Committee. In our care into your hands: Aboriginal stories about approaching the end of life. (762kb pdf). Illawarra Shoalhaven: Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, NSW Government; 2015. Page 8.
Last updated 25 September 2023