Understanding Palliative Care


There are many misconceptions on what palliative care is and who it is for. Simply put, palliative care is a person and family-centred model of care where family and carers receive practical, social, spiritual, and emotional support. It is not just for the elderly but for people of all ages who have been diagnosed with a serious, incurable illness, and are hoping to manage symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Common Misconceptions: 

One of the biggest misconceptions is that only those who are actively dying can receive palliative care, but this is not the case. A person can begin to receive palliative care early on in their illness, and for many years. It is often used to help manage symptoms and help improve quality of life in people suffering from long-term progressive illnesses such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease. 

Another misconception is that it is only for when you are near death, but palliative care is something that can take place on and off through the different stages of an illness. At the end of the day, it is about helping to provide a way with which to live life to the fullest no matter how much time they have left. 

It is available for not only the elderly but anyone at any age. Palliative care can not only have a multitude of benefits for the person with the illness but for the family and friends as well. 

If palliative care is something you may have to begin to discuss with a loved one or are considering for yourself, it is important to discuss early on. To receive palliative care, a conversation must be had with a doctor who can provide a referral to enable access to it. 

Who Provides Palliative Care?

It is provided by GPs, Aged care workers, specialist health care providers, palliative care specialists, and emergency services NSW. It can be given alongside treatments given by other doctors delivered in a setting that is most suitable for you including at home, in hospital, in a hospice or residential aged care facility.

Some of the many palliative care treatments include: Pain relief, equipment to aid care at home, hospital bed; counselling or grief support; support to address cultural/spiritual needs; along with a palliative care plan (allows the paramedic responding to a Triple Zero call to respect the palliative care wishes of patients) and much more. 

Talking About Palliative Care: 

If you or a loved one may be considering a transition to palliative care, there are many options for how this journey may look, so it’s important to have honest conversations around what it is you or the loved one are looking for and what will provide the best quality of life. Often discussions around this can be sensitive with everyone reacting differently. 

If you’re interested in learning more about what palliative care options may be available in the Northern Beaches, contact us on 1300 002 262 or at ccnb.com.au.

Also, Dying to Know Day on 8 August is an annual national campaign that empowers Aussie’s to learn more about their end-of-life choices. If you’re interested in learning more and want additional helpful resources, visit dyingtoknowday.com.

The Belong Club is offering an online two-hour workshop on Monday 15th August, called Ten Things To Know Before You Go that will help you pull together and explore end-of-life planning in an engaging, accessible way, leaving you feeling confident in knowing what options are right for you and your family. Visit, ccnb.com.au/belong-club to register.

*Aged Care Guide 2022, ‘Palliative Care: How Does It Impact Someone’s Life,’ accessed July 2022, <https://www.agedcareguide.com.au/information/palliative-care-how-does-it-impact-someones-life>
*Aged Care Guide 2022, ‘Palliative Care’ accessed July 2022, <https://www.agedcareguide.com.au/information/palliative-care >
*Peninsula Health, ‘Five Myths on Palliative Care’ accessed July 2022, <https://www.peninsulahealth.org.au/2016/11/14/five-myths-palliative-care/>