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What is Palliative Care

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is care provided for people living with, and dying from an eventually fatal condition and for whom the primary goal is quality of life.

Palliative care is the relatively new name for the specialized way of providing supportive care for any person with a life-threatening illness who is approaching the end of life.  It is available for everyone: young and old, those with cancer or any other life-threatening diagnosis, people of any ethnic or cultural background, wherever they live - in the city or in the country.

Palliative Care Queensland is the peak body for palliative care in Queensland. It is a member organisation of the national peak body, Palliative Care Australia.

Our website is an information resource on palliative care and the palliative care services provided in Queensland. The site also announces news, events, online information, publications, learning opportunities, and has links to other relevant websites.

Palliative care aims to comfort, not to cure; to relieve pain and distress for people who are dying; to support patients, families and friends in approaching death and healing grief. 

Palliative care offers support to patients living with a life threatening illness and their families, and supports families in bereavement.

The World Health Organisation has defined Palliative Care as an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.

Palliative care:

  • provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms;
  • affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
  • intends neither to hasten nor postpone death;
  • integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
  • offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
  • offers a support system to help the family cope during the patient’s illness and in their own bereavement;
  • uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counseling, if indicated;
  • will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness;
  • is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications.

http://www.who.int/cancer/palliative/definition/en/