What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is care that helps people live their life as fully and as comfortably as possible when living with a life-limiting or terminal illness. Palliative care is a family-centred model of care, meaning that family and carers can receive practical and emotional support.
Palliative care identifies and treats symptoms which may be physical, emotional, spiritual or social. Because palliative care is based on individual needs, the services offered will differ but may include:
- Visits (or telehealth) from the clinical team such as Physicians, Nurses, OT’s as well as Social Workers and allied health team including massage and music therapists
- Relief of pain and other symptoms e.g. vomiting, shortness of breath
- Planning for future medical treatment decisions and goals of care
- Assistance for families to come together to talk about sensitive issues
- Referrals to respite care services
- Links to other services such as home help and financial support
- Support for emotional, social and spiritual concerns
- Education sessions for carers
- Counselling and grief support and education
- Resources such as equipment needed to aid care at home
- Volunteer involvement for companionship and company
What is End of life Care?
End-of-life care is the last few weeks of life in which a patient with a life-limiting illness is rapidly approaching death. The needs of patients and their carers is higher at this time. This phase of palliative care is recognised as one in which increased services and support are essential to ensure quality, coordinated care from the health care team is being delivered. This takes into account the terminal phase or when the patient is recognised as imminently dying, death and extends to bereavement care.
Who is palliative care for?
Palliative care is for people of any age who have been told that they have a serious illness that cannot be cured. Palliative care assists people with illnesses such as cancer, motor neurone disease and end-stage kidney or lung disease to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.
For some people, palliative care may be beneficial from the time of diagnosis with a serious life-limiting illness. Palliative care can be given alongside treatments given by other doctors.
Is palliative care just about pain management?
Palliative care is person and family-centred care and will vary depending on each individual’s needs and circumstances. As well as providing relief from pain and symptoms associated with a life-limiting illness, palliative care can also include medication management; advice about food and nutrition, mobility and sleeping; support for emotional, social and spiritual concerns; counselling and grief support; and support for families and carers.
Banksia offers additional services to clients and families such as music therapy, massage therapy
Who is in the palliative care team?
Palliative care may be provided by a wide range of people, this may include your GP, aged care worker, cardiologist and any other health care provider, as do family and other carers. They are supported by specialist palliative care services if symptoms become difficult to manage.
At Banksia, our team works with the client’s GP and other specialists.
Banksia’s team includes:
- social workers
- occupational therapists
- massage therapists
- music therapists
- palliative care trained volunteers.
Where is palliative care provided?
Palliative care is provided where the person and their family wants, where possible. This may include:
- At home
- In hospital
- In a hospice
- In a residential aged care facility
Many people indicate a preference to die at home and making this possible often depends on several factors, including:
- the nature of the illness and amount of care the person needs
- how much support is available from the person’s family and community
- whether the person has someone at home who can provide physical care and support for them.
How do I get palliative care?
Palliative care can be accessed through referral from your General Practitioner, medical specialist or other health provider.
If you are within the councils of Banyule, Whittlesea or Nillumbik you can also directly refer yourself or a loved one, by clicking here.
Once you are referred, you will be admitted by our team. They will visit you at your home, or place of residence and discuss your circumstances and how we can support you and your family. A care plan will be put into place.
Is palliative care only available in the last few days before you die?
Palliative care can be available to people from the time they are first diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. People can receive palliative care for a long time before they die and may receive it at the same time as they receive treatment, sometimes referred to as supportive palliative care.
If I’m referred to palliative care, doesn’t that mean that my doctor has given up on me?
Not at all. Palliative care is available to people diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and is often provided in conjunction with active treatment. Palliative care can provide you with the support and tools you need to help ensure that you can meet your goals of care and fight for quality of life.
Why do I need palliative care?
Palliative care can help you manage your illness, particularly pain and symptoms so you can continue to live life as well as you can, while dealing with your illness. You may need it or want to have it from early in your diagnosis or you may choose to take it up once your illness progresses to a certain stage. You may have an on-off rotation through palliative care through various stages of your illness as you have periods of wellness and illness. Palliative care can mean different things to different people.
How much does palliative care cost?
Banksia’s services are provided at no cost to our clients. There may be some costs associated with hire of equipment.