Palliative Care: Freedom of choice, comfort, dignity and respect

14 May 2023

“Palliative Care is an approach that improves the quality of life of residents and their families who are facing problems associated with life-threatening illness. It prevents and relieves suffering through the early identification, correct assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, whether physical, psychosocial and spiritual.” – World Health Organisation

We understand that dealing with a life-threatening illness or chronic disease is difficult. That’s why at Southern Cross Care Queensland (SCCQ), we take an holistic approach to palliative care that is considerate to each person’s physical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual needs.

We believe that palliative care and end-of-life care are the best options to allow freedom of choice, comfort, dignity and respect as a person nears the end of their life.

How does palliative care help?
Palliative care provides support for you and your loved ones and can help to reduce stress, worry, feelings of isolation and build your confidence in making decisions. A palliative care approach should:

  • help you to live life as fully and as comfortably as possible with a life-threatening illness
  • provide you with the opportunity to be totally involved in the planning of your care now and as your healthcare needs change
  • ensure that comfort and support measures align with your healthcare goals and preferences and are delivered alongside medical treatments given by doctors.

What services are available?
Palliative care is based on your unique needs and services will be based on your identified needs. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • relief of pain and other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, vomiting
  • equipment needs to support care at home
  • support for families to come together to talk about sensitive issues relating to your journey with a life limiting condition
  • planning for future medical treatment decisions and goals of care
  • support for emotional, social and spiritual concerns
  • referrals to respite care services and other healthcare professionals that can support your management of symptoms
  • counselling and grief support.

Who delivers palliative care?
Palliative care is delivered by specialist doctors, GPs, nurses, allied health practitioners and pastoral or spiritual care workers who are trained and experienced in supporting people who are living with a life-threating or chronic illness. They have expertise in symptom management, emotional, spiritual, practical and cultural care and support.

Who is involved?
Palliative care involves you, your family and loved ones and members of your healthcare team.

At Southern Cross Care, our staff have knowledge and skills to support and facilitate palliative care for those who are under our care. We partner with local Palliative Care Specialist Services to ensure we offer holistic and best practice palliative care support.

Can anyone receive palliative care?
Any person with a life-threatening illness which cannot be cured can receive palliative care. Palliative care is not just for people nearing the end of their lives.

A person who is nearing the end of life, can be supported with end of life care. This usually occurs in the last year of life.

When should someone seek palliative care?
Palliative care is best commenced early in the disease process to help you maintain the best quality of life, according to your wishes, for as long as possible. You can receive palliative care in your home, at our residential aged care homes, or in a specialised palliative care unit depending on what best supports your health care needs.

Where to next?
You and your family can talk to your doctor, our residential managers or member of our team about your unique circumstances. Together, we can support you throughout the journey.

You can also contact organisations who provide palliative care information and support, such as:

  • PalAssist – a Queensland Health service for anyone who has a life-limiting illness or condition, and/or their families and carers
  • Violet – A not-for-profit service providing free information and support focusing on the last stage of life and grief and loss.

Valuing and respecting human life and the dignity of every person is at the heart of everything we do.