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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is palliative care just for people with cancer?

    It seems like cancer patients are the people who receive palliative care. My mother has dementia; can she receive palliative care?
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  • CareSearch is an online resource designed to help those needing relevant and trustworthy information and resources about palliative care. The website has been funded by … View Profile

    When you and your carer think of palliative care, you might think it is about helping people with cancer. You might not know that palliative care can help with other diseases. This may include people with:

    • Alzheimer’s and dementia
    • AIDS
    • Motor Neurone Disease and multiple sclerosis
    • Advanced lung, heart, kidney and liver disease
    • Disabling stroke and other neurological diseases.

    Sometimes cancer patients have symptoms due to their illness. If you have another disease you may have the same problems. Palliative care can help with these. People who provide palliative care will often work with other health teams. It may be harder for you if you don’t have cancer to accept palliative care.

    Palliative care can be helpful to you and your carer at any point when you are ill. You may be referred to a specialist palliative care service to deal with certain symptoms. If these symptoms improve, you may be referred you back to your GP or usual health team. People can move in out of specialist palliative care services.

    Over the years you may have had active treatment even when you have been seriously ill. It can be hard to see when might be the right time for support from palliative care. You and your carer may notice small changes in how you are feeling. Palliative care can be very helpful to you.

    CareSearch is an online source of free, trustworthy evidence-based palliative care information with separate sections written specifically for consumers and health professionals. We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

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