Looking after someone who is seriously ill or dying can be rewarding. It can help you develop a strong bond with the person you are caring for. However it can also be very tiring both physically and emotionally.
If you are a carer, it’s important to get as much support as possible and to make sure that you aren’t ignoring your own health. The following are some of the areas where Palliative Care may be able to assist carers and families in organising more support.
- Home nursing visits to assist with hygiene, medications or other practical support. Government or community organisations may provide nursing visits for a short period, several times a week at minimal or no cost. (Private nurses or carers may be hired for longer periods or even on a 24 hour basis but this can be an expensive proposition)
- Respite care – either for a few hours at home or for longer periods in a facility – to give a break from providing care
- Help with your concerns and emotions
- Help to get special equipment at home to help with moving the ill person or to make life easier, (e.g.hospital type beds, pressure mattress, commode etc)
- Making advice and information available at all times, including during the evening, night and at weekends.
- Assistance to talk about the care of the ill person and their choices.
PalAssist is a Queensland-wide, no-cost 24-hour telephone and online service for palliative care patients, carers, family and friends seeking practical information and emotional support. The registered nurses and health professionals who operate PalAssist can connect you with the organisations and resources you need, with referrals to all local area palliative services. Contact PalAssist on 1800 772 273 or via their website.
Other Helpful Websites/Resources
Palliative Care Australia website has a section devoted to providing information to carers about palliative care. It also has extensive links to other organisations available to assist carers.
CareSearch, the Palliative Care Knowledge network website has a section entitled How to Care which covers issues such as:
- The Family Carer Role, Family Conflict in Caring, If You Cannot Continue In The Caring Role, Looking After Yourself
- Managing Daily Life, Paid Care workers In The Home, Respite, Tips For Carers About Visitors, Getting Practical Help
- Managing Medicines and Transport.
Carers Qld provides information on services and support available to carers in their town or region. They also have a counselling service for carers. Contact them on 1800 242 636 or via their website.
Carer Gateway is a national online and phone service that provides practical information and resources to support carers. The interactive service finder helps carers connect to local support services. Freecall 1800 422 773 8 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday or visit their website.