As the Australian population continues to increase and age, the demand for palliative care services is growing. At the same time, not a great deal is known about this kind of care in the community. Because it is associated with such a difficult part of life, it's easy to find yourself in the dark about palliative care.
Are you wondering what the term palliative care means? Are you or someone you love considering palliative care but looking for more information?
You've come to the right place. We've compiled this simple guide to answer all your questions. Read on to learn everything you wanted to know about palliative care.
Here at MACG, we provide palliative care in all 8 of our Victorian homes. If you'd like to know more or organise a tour of our residences, contact us to speak with our friendly care team.
What is palliative care?
Palliative care is care, treatment and support for individuals living with life-ending illnesses. This includes children, adults and the elderly. Such illnesses can include:
- Motor neurone disease
- Respiratory illnesses
- End-stage kidney disease
The goal of palliative care is to help individuals have the best possible quality of life. Palliative treatment involves:
- Managing pain and other physical symptoms
- Psychological, emotional and spiritual support
- Assistance including help with daily activities like dressing, washing and eating
- Help for families to talk through sensitive matters
- Support for residents in meeting cultural needs
- Grief counselling
Residents receive a wide range of excellent care support services, such as:
- Round-the-clock care teams with Registered Nurses
- Support accessing allied health services
- Laundry facilities
- Dietitian-approved meals prepared on-site
Residents receiving palliative care can access lifestyle programs to forge connections with other residents. Lifestyle programs will keep their mind and body active, and include:
- Relaxation and meditation
- Music movement therapy
- Animal and pet visits
- Walking groups
- Movie nights
- Gardening and cooking
- Sensory programs
- Community volunteering and giving
Palliative care also supports the family and friends of those receiving care. Terminal illness has a major impact on the social networks of a patient, and it's important that people are given the help they need to stay connected.
What are the benefits of palliative care?
Palliative care can commence when a person is diagnosed with a terminal illness. The earlier it's started, the greater the benefits. People who receive quality palliative care have better outcomes than those who don't. They report:
- Greater optimism
- Reduced and less intense pain and symptoms
- Higher quality of life
There are a range of other benefits too. Palliative care also:
- Ensures patient autonomy by putting the patient's decision-making first
- Supports the patient and their family
- Assists patients and their families to understand treatment options and plans
- Centres physical, mental and spiritual health
- Limits unnecessary hospital visits
Who provides palliative care?
A range of specialists who work in health and community organisations provide palliative care services, such as:
- Registered Nurses
- Medical specialists
- Local government agencies
- Cultural and religious service providers
- Disability services
- Residential care facilities
How much does palliative care cost?
Palliative care is typically covered by Medicare, but costs may apply for specialised equipment, dressings, medications and treatments. Extra fees are involved with palliative care in private hospitals, residential communities and some hospices.
How do you get a referral for palliative care?
Those who require palliative care for themselves or others can be referred by their doctor, nurse or local health provider. The medical system is always ready to assist people to receive the care they need.
Who can I speak with about palliative care?
Victorians are able to access help with palliative care questions and services by contacting one of the following:
- Palliative Care Victoria
- Palliative Care Advice Service
- Local palliative care service
- Community health service
What is the difference between palliative care and end of life care?
Palliative care is care for individual living with a terminal illness that can't be cured, and that patients are likely to die from. End-of-life care is a part of palliative care focused on when those individuals are nearing the end of their life (6 months or less).
Why choose MACG for palliative care?
At MACG, our palliative care teams are passionate and highly experienced. We have deliberately built our homes on an ethos of strong community and family values.
Each of our 8 Victorian homes provide quality care and comprehensive lifestyle programs. Our palliative care allows residents to:
- Enjoy the security of knowing they are being cared for and helped
- Forge rich connections and meet new people
- Find a community of those who understand what they're going through
What our residents have to say
- "A wonderful & caring family business, looking after very important people in our community." - Kate McPherson
- "They are taking wonderful care of our Mum. Thank you." - Deborah Ewart