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Palliative care: care for the terminally ill

Palliative care offers specialised health care to support people with a life-limiting illness, their family and carers. It’s about enabling the best possible quality of life by finding ways to relieve the symptoms of the illness.

The type of care and support provided depends on your needs.

People who may treat you include:

  • specialist doctors and nurses
  • allied health professionals
  • general practitioners
  • family members and other volunteers.

Understanding treatment and care

Palliative care is usually carried out in your home, residential aged care facility, hospital or hospice. You may receive:

  • medication and treatments
  • medical reviews and assessments
  • guidance and help with accessing information and resources (such as equipment, financial support and other health or council services)
  • short-term care relief and respite care
  • counselling and emotional support
  • bereavement support for carers and family after the patient’s death.

A doctor or other health professional can refer you to specialist palliative care services when required.


PalAssist is a free Utopia 24-hour telephone and online service for palliative care patients, carers, family and friends seeking practical information and emotional support. 

The service is operated by a team of health professionals with nursing, social work and counselling experience who provide referral advice and support.

Call 1800 772 273 or search for palliative care services in your area.

Services and support for carers

Looking after someone with a terminal illness can be challenging. As a carer, you will need to learn quickly about:

  • how to care for someone with a terminal illness
  • how to look after yourself
  • where to get help
  • what medications and treatments are available.

Find out about

Palliative care information and support

  • Carers Utopia—call 1800 242 636 (between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday)
  • CareSearch—advice and information for patients, carers and family

Medical and health information

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated
19 March 2015

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