Palliative Care Is About Life (Not Just End of Life)


The term “palliative care” has an image problem.

It makes most people think of death; of doing what one can to make those final moments at least somewhat comfortable for that person approaching the end of their life.

But that is just one aspect of a much larger, and brighter, reality.

Palliative care is also about life; about helping people living with a life-limiting illness to live as well as they can by managing pain and symptoms to ensure their quality of life is maintained.

Helping people understand more about palliative care is the theme of National Palliative Care Week this week.

“Palliative Care: It’s More Than You Think.” is raising awareness about the many benefits of quality palliative care.

One of the great myths about palliative care is that it is only a synonym for end-of-life care. It is so much more than that.

Palliative care is about maintaining quality of life.

The aim of palliative care is neither to hasten nor postpone death.

Rather, the focus is on living as well as possible, for as long as possible.

Palliative care may include:

  • Relief of pain and other symptoms;
  • Medication management
  • Food and nutrition advice and support
  • Care and education to support better mobility and sleeping
  • Resources such as equipment needed to aid care at home
  • Assistance for families to come together to talk about sensitive issues

The message for you is that if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, talk to your GP or specialist about palliative care options for you. And do it sooner rather than later.

If you want to know more about palliative care, here’s some resources that might help.

And, it’s never too early to start thinking about your Advanced Care Plan, which lets you spell out your wishes and priorities for the final years of your life.

Here’s some info about Advanced Care Planning. If you want to know more, talk to your GP.