When you’re first diagnosed with an illness, your care aims to cure it. Sometimes, though, there comes a time when treatment options have been exhausted. At that point, the aims of care shift towards keeping you as comfortable as possible. You’ve moved from curative care to palliative care.
What is palliative care?
Palliative care aims to maximise your quality of life when you’re living with an advanced, progressive disease that is now unlikely to be cured.
Palliative care can help to manage pain, provide personal care, support families and provide emotional, spiritual and psychological support. It’s a supportive, family centred model of care that aims to make you as comfortable as possible.
What is included in palliative care?
Palliative care services vary depending on your unique needs but can include:
- Medications to ease your pain or manage other unpleasant symptoms of your condition
- Support to help your family talk about sensitive topics together
- Connecting you and your family to other services such as financial support and grief counselling
- Ensuring you’re connected to cultural and spiritual support if you choose
- Ensuring respite care is available to help your family.
Some people receive palliative care for years, others for only a short time.
End-of-life care happens in the last few weeks of your life. You and your loved ones have higher needs during this time.
Who is in a palliative care team?
Many different health professionals play a role in palliative care.
Each person’s team is different but may include:
- Your GP and medical specialists
- Physiotherapists, occupational therapists or speech therapists
- Social workers
- Trained carers.
What is palliative care in the home setting?
A Productivity Report in 2017 found that 70% of Australians would prefer to die at home but only 10% do.
Palliative care at home can help you remain in your own, familiar home surrounded by your family.
In-home palliative carers help in many different ways such as:
- Providing equipment to ensure your comfort at home
- Changing your position to prevent bed sores
- Preparing nutritious meals
- Helping you maintain personal hygiene
- Helping to manage depression
- Liaising with your broader medical team
- Supporting your family in the aftermath of your death.
If I’m already in a hospital, can I go home?
Often, yes. It depends on your particular situation but your doctors and your family should do their best to respect your wishes and put a plan in place.
It’s not wise (nor usually possible) to go home without help on hand. By this stage, you may need round-the-clock care and support. That also saves your energy for spending precious time with people you love.
How does in-home palliative care support carers?
Caring for someone approaching the end of their life can be physically demanding, emotionally draining and overwhelming at times.
In-home palliative care is a great help to carers. It means there’s someone else there who understands your loved one’s condition, knows what needs doing, and knows your loved one’s preferences.
That takes the pressure off you. It means you can pop out for a walk or meet a friend. Respite care also gives you the opportunity to stay overnight somewhere so you get a good night’s sleep.
How can Focused Health Care help with palliative care?
Focused Health Care is run by Registered Nurses, meaning our business operates from a deep understanding of your medical and emotional needs.
Our palliative care nurses support you and your family to manage the physical, emotional, social, cultural and spiritual aspects of terminal illness with skill, dignity and respect.
- In-home nursing 24/7
- Medication management
- Syringe pumps
- End of life management.
We can also help you understand the different funding mechanisms for in-home palliative care, guiding you through the process during what we know is a difficult time.
If you or your loved one needs palliative care and would prefer to receive it at home, please call us on 1300 201 351.
All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances and seek a second opinion.