Palliative care aims to ensure the best quality of life when death is inevitable. This could be by controlling physical problems such as pain. It can also help with emotional, spiritual and social needs.
Residents often indicate that the aged care home is the place where they wish to die when their time comes. In most cases, you will be able to stay in your aged care home. You may need to leave if your aged care home is unable to provide the care and support that you need. You should discuss your wishes with the staff.
Palliative care is not giving up. It is about doing all that should be done, and can be done, to provide care and comfort to a dying person and their loved ones.
If you require palliative care, the GP and the nurses will talk to you and the family. They will look at any care needs. This is to make sure that your wishes are respected. It is also to make sure that symptoms like pain are well managed. You may have previously been admitted to a hospice. If so, the palliative care team from the hospice may continue to see you.
Staff in aged care can ask specialist palliative care teams for advice and equipment. This can help them to better manage any troubling symptoms. Sometimes a short stay in hospital is needed. This may be for symptom control or to confirm a diagnosis. It may also be to check if your condition can be reversed. If you need to go to hospital for care or treatment, your place will be held in the home.
Some low care facilities, especially very small hostels, may have few resources. They may not be able to provide complex care or palliative care over a long time. If so, staff will talk to you about what can be done and what is in your best interests. If necessary, they will try to find an alternative care service that is acceptable.
Planned palliative care
If you plan to enter Residential aged care to receive planned palliative care then you must be eligible for residential aged care and have palliative care status. The Department of Health and Aged Care has a useful information sheet on what this means and what you will need to think about.
There is also an information sheet for medical practitioners and nurse practitioners. This outlines there role and responsibilities including how to conduct an assessment for palliative care status.
If you are concerned about the care your relative is receiving, ask to speak to the Registered Nurse. You can also make an appointment with the Manager/Director of Nursing. Many people find it helpful to make a list of the concerns that they wish to discuss and to bring the list to the meeting.
Page last updated 05 August 2022