Raising the subject of palliative care can be a difficult thing to do, as talking about death and dying can be very stressful for yourself and your family.

Many people feel it is easier to avoid the subject for as long as possible.

You and your family may find this, and so will some health care professionals. However, it is helpful if you are referred to palliative care early, by your GP/Specialist/Health Care provider. This is especially true if you have a number of related health issues.

The demand for palliative care services across Australia is expected to increase over time due to the continued growth of an ageing population. In addition, the pattern of disease at the end of life is changing, such that an increasing proportion of people are expected to die from chronic progressive illnesses. People with these illnesses are most likely to make use of palliative care services.

Palliative care can be given by your GP, practice nurse, and / or community nurse. Palliative care may also be given by palliative care nurses or doctors in some places. This is called specialist palliative care. You could be at home, aged care facility, in a hospice or a palliative care ward in a hospital. You may move between these places as your medical and support needs change.

If you live in the country you may not have much access to specialist palliative care. Your GP and health service may be linked to a palliative care service in the city. They can seek specialist advice from them as needed.


A number of different health professionals are involved in delivering palliative care.

They generally work in multidisciplinary teams, and may include:

  • Specialist palliative care doctors and nurses
  • Specialist doctors – oncologists, neurologists, cardiologists, respiratory physicians
  • General practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Allied health professionals – pharmacists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists
  • Social workers
  • Grief and bereavement counsellors
  • Pastoral care workers

A small number of people experience severe or complex problems as their illness advances. These people may be referred to a specialist palliative care service where a team of specialist professionals will work to meet their needs.

You can have palliative care while you are also having active treatment for your illness.

Please use our Business Directory Search facility to find ‘Hospice and Palliative Care’ providers in your local area.