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What is Palliative Care



What is it


Palliative care is person and family-centred care provided for a person with an active, progressive, advanced disease, who has little or no prospect of cure and who is expected to die; and for whom the primary goal is to optimise the quality of life.


End-of-life care is the last few weeks of life in which a patient with a life-limiting illness is rapidly approaching death. The needs of patients and their carers is higher at this time. This phase of palliative care is recognised as one in which increased services and support are essential to ensure quality, coordinated care from the health care team is being delivered. This takes into account the terminal phase, or when the patient is recognised as imminently dying and their death. It also extends to bereavement care.


Palliative care is care that helps people live their life as fully and as comfortably as possible when living with a life-limiting or terminal illness.

Palliative care identifies and treats symptoms which may be physical, emotional, spiritual or social. 

Because palliative care is based on individual needs, the services offered will differ but may include:


  • Relief of pain and other symptoms e.g. vomiting, shortness of breath

  • Resources such as equipment needed to aid care at home

  • Assistance for families to come together to talk about sensitive issues

  • Links to other services such as home help and financial support

  • Support for people to meet cultural obligations

  • Support for emotional, social and spiritual concerns

  • Counselling and grief support

  • Referrals to respite care services


Palliative care is a family-centred model of care, meaning that family and carers can receive practical and emotional support.


The information in this page is supplied courtesy of Palliative Care Australia. 

For more detailed information, visit the Palliative Care Australia website


Palliative care in the NT

Specialist palliative care services in the Northern Territory are provided by Territory Palliative Care (TPC). There are two teams, servicing the Top End and Central Australia, based out of Darwin and Alice Springs respectively. Palliative Care NT does not deliver clinical services.  

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