Palliative Care and End-of-Life Care

The term palliative care refers to person and family-centred care provided for a person with an active, progressive, advanced disease, who has little to no prospect of cure and who is expected to pass on, and for whom the primary goal is to optimise the quality of life ref=35540. Palliative care identifies and treats symptoms which may be physical, emotional, spiritual or social and because it is based on individual needs, the services offered can be diverse. The term end-of-life care refers to the last few weeks of life in which a patient with a life-limiting illness is rapidly approaching passing. Of note, sometimes these terms can be used interchangeably or have different definitions.

In provided person-centred care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it is important to ask the person who they would like involved in discussions about their health care as they may have decision makers or spokespersons who should be involved in all discussions and decisions regarding that person’s care. If this is the case, it should be clearly document in the person’s records ref=29818 .

The time surrounding the end of someone’s life is precious and needs to be respected and approached in a safe and responsive, including culturally appropriate manner. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people often have a number of customary practices before, during and after passing. These practices may be sacred and may not be widely discussed outside of the community ref=21898.

The Palliative care and end-of-life portal is designed to assist the health workforce who provide care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their families and communities. It seeks to support both clinicians and policy-makers in accessing resources, research and projects on palliative and end-of-life care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Palliative care and end-of-life care project is a collaboration between Palliative Care Australia and the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet with funding from the Australian Government.

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Key resources

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Carried Lightly by Brian Robinson

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