A palliative approach is a type of palliative care. A palliative approach recognises that death is inevitable and focuses on the care rather than cure of a person with multiple chronic conditions, frailty and/or a life-threatening or life-limiting illness. The goal of a palliative approach is to improve or optimise a person’s level of comfort and function and to offer appropriate treatment for any distressing symptoms. A palliative approach addresses a person’s psychological, spiritual, social, emotional and cultural needs. Families are welcomed as partners in this approach.
A palliative approach recognises that for older people with multiple chronic conditions, frailty and/or a life-threatening or life-limiting illness, that this is often the last chapter of their life the length of which is unknown. This definition is adopted in the RACGP aged care clinical guide (Silver Book 2019).
The Palliative Care Service Development Guidelines (331kb pdf) from Palliative Care Australia do not use the term palliative approach, but instead use the terms 'palliative care' and 'specialist palliative care' to identify palliative care provided by non-specialist and specialist providers of palliative care respectively. The basis for this is discussed in more detail in the Background Report to the Palliative Care Service Development Guidelines from Palliative Care Australia (741kb pdf). It is likely that in working across health and aged care settings both terms will be encountered.
Affirming Life – What is a palliative approach?
This guide may be helpful for family and friends of residents.
Page updated 09 October 2019