Pain is commonly observed in the terminal phase of a palliative illness when it is usually expressed as agitation.

For support with switching between opioids, refer to Opioids: Switching Between Formulations.

Prescribing Guidance

palliAGEDgp smartphone application (available as an app or as online content)

Tasmanian Adult Palliative Care Formulary

Therapeutic Guidelines: Palliative Care (subscription required)

Useful information

Therapeutic Guidelines: Palliative Care (subscription required)

Carers may find the information in this leaflet useful: Learn more about pain and pain management by Palliative Care Australia.


  • Always be aware that if a person stiffens and resists, vocalises, or grimaces during routine nursing care, this may be a sign that they are experiencing pain.
  • It is vital for breakthrough analgesia to be given when the source of restlessness is identified as pain.
  • Look out for non-verbal signs of pain and explain to family and carers before responding with a breakthrough dose.

Page last updated 21 February 2019