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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is palliative care?

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  • PCA is the peak national organisation representing the interests and aspirations of those who share the ideal of quality care at the end of life ... View Profile

    Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.

    Palliative care:

    • provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms;
    • affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
    • intends neither to hasten or postpone death;
    • integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
    • offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
    • offers a support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and in their own bereavement;
    • uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counselling, if indicated;
    • will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness;
    • is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications.
    Reference: World Health Organization, 2010, WHO Definition of Palliative Care.

    For more information, Palliative Care Australia produces a number of information brochures for consumers, including What is Palliative Care?

    Palliative Care Australia is the peak national organisation representing the interests and aspirations of all who share the ideal of quality care at the end of life. PCA works to raise awareness of palliative and end of life care, improve the understanding and availability of services across Australia, and encourage discussion to support improved knowledge networks.

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