It’s a subject we may find difficult to discuss, yet having the resources to properly support those with a life shortening illness is critically important. So, what exactly is palliative care, and how does it assist the individuals, their families and friends who are undertaking this profound journey?
‘Palliative care supports people with a life limiting illness and their families to live, die and grieve well.’
What is it?
Palliative care is the term we give to the services and support that help you live well with a serious illness that’s likely to shorten your life. This may include conditions like heart, lung and kidney diseases; motor neurone disease; cancer; and dementia. The goal of palliative care is to make you comfortable, improve your quality of life and give support to family and friends who are caring for you. Importantly, it also provides you with choices, and helps you make decisions about the care you want.
Depending on your needs, palliative care services may help with a specific issue for a short time, or they may become more involved over a longer period of time.
Who provides it?
Health professionals work together in a team to provide palliative care. They include your GP and other specialist palliative care professionals. Exactly who is involved in your care will depend on your specific needs and circumstances. And of course, your family and friends can also play a big role.
Bolton Clarke has specialist nurses in a variety of areas including palliative care, aged care, dementia, continence, wound care and diabetes as well as allied health team members including physiotherapists and social workers. Bolton Clarke staff can help to manage difficult issues such as pain and other symptoms or needs you may have, plus refer onto and collaboratively work with other specialist palliative care services.
Where does palliative care happen?
Most palliative care is provided where people usually live, such as in their home or in a care facility. It’s also provided in hospitals and in hospices (hospices are special units devoted to providing palliative care). Some hospices will offer day programs as well.
Bolton Clarke offers services to promote and support people to remain where they prefer, providing services across our At Home Support services, as well as within our Retirement Living and Residential Aged Care communities.
How do I get the service?
You can ask for palliative care any time from your diagnosis and throughout your illness. It can help with pain and other symptoms and improve your quality of life at any time during your illness. Palliative care may increase, reduce or stop, as your needs change. Importantly, it’s not limited to the last days or weeks of life.
You can ask your GP or your specialist doctor to refer you to a palliative care service. A doctor’s referral is essential for palliative care in hospital.
In Victoria, you can request assistance from a community palliative care service without a doctor’s referral. They will ask questions about your situation and explain the next steps.
Will I need to pay for it?
Most palliative care services are free. There may be some costs for medicines or supplies depending on your needs, if these are not fully funded by Government. Private palliative care services charge fees. As there may be fees associated with Bolton Clarke services, it’s a good idea to ask about costs. If you have health insurance, remember to ask if they cover palliative care.
To find out more about Bolton Clarke, submit an enquiry or talk to one of our friendly team members on 1300 22 11 22