Palliative care - for families

Palliative care is person and family centred care for a person with an active, progressive advanced disease. The person is expected to die, and their goal is to optimise their quality of life.

How can palliative care help me and my family?

Palliative care can help with symptom control, for example, pain, nausea, constipation, breathlessness, and many others.

We can help plan for future care.

Community palliative care teams can often provide a phone number to call 24/7 to ask for help or advice for patients 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 my family member have palliative care?

Palliative care can often be provided alongside care by other treating teams.

There are four main locations:

  1. In their home, or in a residential care facility, the person can get visits from a community palliative care team.
  2. The person and their family members might be able to see our team as an outpatient, for example by visiting an outpatient clinic in a hospital
  3. They can be seen by a consultation team while you are an inpatient in a hospital, being looked after by another team like the acute medical team or oncology team
  4. Patients can be looked after by our team in an inpatient palliative care bed. Sometimes this is called an inpatient palliative care unit, or a hospice.
    We do not provide long term care however. If a person’s condition stabilises and they don’t need inpatient palliative care anymore, the person will go home or to a residential care facility (nursing home)  if going home is not possible.

How can I get palliative care?

If the person needing palliative care is at home or in a residential care facility, you can ask their General Practitioner (GP) to make a referral.
You can contact your local community palliative care team by using the What is Palliative Care service directory and looking for “specialist palliative care provider” for your postcode.

If you or the person you are caring for is in a hospital, ask your treating team doctor for a referral to the palliative care consultation service.

I don’t speak English well.

Information about Palliative care is available in other languages.

What about palliative care for children?

Specialist palliative care services are also available for children.

CanTeen is here for you if you are 12-25 and your world has been turned upside down by cancer.

What support is available for carers?

To find out more about what help is available for carers, see PCA's "I'm a carer".

A child’s parent or loved one has cancer

CanTeen is here for you if you are 12-25 and your world has been turned upside down by cancer.

Is there information for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people?

Absolutely. We warmly welcome referrals for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to our services at Palliative Care Victoria.