Palliative care is a specialist type of care that focuses on the person and their support networks. It takes a holistic approach, incorporating not just medical and nursing care but psychological, social and spiritual components too. Its aim is to provide comfort and dignity to people and their loved ones by maximising quality of life, managing symptoms, and offering individualised care and support.
Palliative care is commonly associated with hospice, although it can also be provided by trained hospital teams, some GPs, home-based support services, district nurses, staff at a residential care home, specialist nurses, or hospice staff working in the community. They will help you understand treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, assist with managing any distressing complications, and provide education for you and your loved ones.
Palliative care specialists understand the emotional rollercoaster you may experience and are trained to respond sensitively and appropriately. They can provide practical support, like ensuring you have the necessary equipment for your care, be a listening ear, assist you to achieve goals (such as catching up with a special friend or writing a book of memories), and offer support to help families cope during your illness and, later, in their own bereavement. Don’t be afraid to ask a palliative care advisor for help.
If remaining at home ceases to be an option, you may need to move to a care home. Payment and funding rules vary. In some regions, the services may be subsidised for a defined period, after which they require a financial means assessment, just as for a Residential Care Subsidy - RCS. Other regions may require a means assessment immediately. Funding may also depend on any pre-existing condition. This means that depending on the circumstances, some people may have to pay for part or all of their care. Ask your service coordinator about what applies in your situation. Work and Income can clarify queries on residential care payments. Call Work and Income on 0800 999 727.
You will find residential care facilities that offer palliative care on Making Life Easier just click on Find Services Now and scroll down to the end of life section.