Palliative care information for patients and their families

Palliative care is person and family centred care. It is for a person with an active, progressive advanced disease

Palliative care can help with symptom control. These symptoms can include pain, nausea, constipation, breathlessness, and many others. We can often supply palliative alongside care by your other treating teams. You may need palliative care while at home or in a residential care facility. If so, ask your General Practitioner (GP) to make a referral. 

How can palliative care help my family and me? 

Palliative care can help with symptom control, such as: 

  • Pain 
  • Nausea 
  • Constipation 
  • Breathlessness

We can help plan for future care. 

Community palliative care teams can often supply a phone number to call 24/7. You can use that number to ask for help or advice if you are at home. 

We can help provide information and help with decision making. We can help coordinate the care you receive and access to equipment you need. 

Where can I have palliative care? 

Palliative care is often available alongside care by other treating teams. 

There are four main locations. 

In your home, or in a residential care facility 

You can get visits from a community palliative care team. 

Outpatient clinic 

You and your family members might be able to see our team as an outpatient. For example, you can visit an outpatient clinic in a hospital. 

Inpatient in a hospital 

A consultation team can see you while you are an inpatient in a hospital. Another team like the acute medical team or oncology team may be looking after you at the same time 

Inpatient palliative care bed / hospice 

Our team can look after you in an inpatient palliative care bed. Sometimes we call this an inpatient palliative care unit, or a hospice. 

We do not supply long-term care, though. Your condition will likely stabalise. At that point you won't need inpatient palliative care anymore. You will then go home or to a residential care facility (nursing home) if going home is not possible. 

How can I get palliative care? 

You may be at home or in a residential care facility. If so, you can ask your GP to make a referral.  

You can also contact your local community palliative care team. Visit Palliative Care Australia’s National Palliative Care Service Directory. Enter your postcode in the search bar to find your local palliative care team. 

You may be in a hospital. If so, ask our treating team doctor for a referral. You can then access our palliative care consultation service. 

I don’t speak English well

Information about Palliative care is available in other languages.

Visit Palliative Care Victoria’s Other Language Resources

What about palliative care for children? 

Specialist palliative care services are also available for children.  

What support is available for carers? 

Looking after somebody who has a life-limiting illness or cancer can be an emotional experience. We are here to help. Below are some supports available for carers. 

A child’s parent or loved one has cancer 

Children and teenagers caring for someone receiving palliative care may need extra help. Young carers can face particular challenges. Being a young carer can impact: 

  • Their school work 
  • Keeping or making friendships  
  • Socialising or going out

Below are resources available for children and young carers.  

Is there information for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people? 

We welcome referrals for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to our services.  

To find out more visit Palliative Care Victoria. 

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