Palliative Care

"Palliative care is an approach that improves quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention of suffering by early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychological and spiritual." World Health Organisation

Palliative care

  • Provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
  • Affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
  • Intends neither to hasten or postpone death;
  • Integrates psychological and spiritual aspects of palliative care;
  • Offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
  • Offers a support system to help the family cope during the patient¡¦s illness and in bereavement;
  • Uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counselling if indicated;
  • Will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness; and
  • Is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includesthose investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications.

Reference World Health Organisation Definition of Palliative Care

What is the palliative approach?

The palliative approach links primary care services and practitioners to improve the quality of life for individuals with a life limiting illness, their caregiver/s and family.

The approach incorporates the holistic needs of the patients and caregiver/s that is reflected in assessment and in the primary treatment of pain and in the provision of physical, psychological, social and spiritual care.

Application of the palliative approach to the care of an individual patient is not delayed until the end stages of their illness.

Instead, it provides a focus on active comfort-focused care and a positive approach to reducing suffering and promoting understanding of loss and bereavement in the wider community.

Underlying the philosophy of a palliative approach is the view that death, dying and bereavement are all an integral part of life.

Reference Standards for Providing Quality Palliative Care for all Australians

Palliative care in the ACT

Palliative care services in the ACT are delivered to all people in need, regardless of diagnosis. The primary and specialist palliative care services currently provided in the ACT are of high quality and deliver excellent care to the ACT community.

The ACT Palliative Care Services Plan 2013-2017 sets the direction for palliative care services in the ACT for the next four years. The Strategy aims to provide direction for the delivery of palliative care services in the ACT, in line with the national palliative care standards developed by Palliative Care Australia.

The scope of the updated National Palliative Care Strategy 2010 is broad, addressing both palliative care provided in all specialist and general settings as well as end of life issues. Whilst there is a National Palliative Care Program that supports national approaches, most palliative care service provision occurs within the remit of the State and Territory health systems. Each State and Territory has an articulated approach to palliative care in their jurisdiction. This Strategy aims then to enhance and build on the work occurring at the jurisdictional level, not duplicate or contradict it.