SW Cancer Services

Palliative Care

General Information

Palliative care is care provided for people of all ages who have a life limiting illness, with little or no prospect of cure, and for whom the primary treatment goal is quality of life.

It is care provided for people suffering from diseases that no longer respond to curative treatment. It involves providing medical and nursing care together with social, emotional and spiritual support for patients, carers and families.

What types of Illnesses are involved?

Most Palliative patients have some form of cancer, but sometimes people with Motor Neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or other life limiting diseases may require Palliative Care.

How are people referred?

Referrals are made from your Medical Practitioner

What happens when a person is referred?

You will be assessed and your needs will be determined appropriate to your needs (inpatient care, community care, or both)

Is the inpatient unit a place where people go to die?

People usually have inpatient care for one of the following reasons:

  • To manage symptoms
  • For respite care
  • For psychological or emotional support, and
  • To be cared for and supported in their last days or weeks of life, with the support of their families at the same time.

Is palliative care just for older people?

Palliative care can be provided for people of all ages.

Palliative Care In the South West

In the South West we are fortunate enough to have a choice about the setting in which palliative care is given and received. Care can be delivered in a hospital, an aged care facility, a hospice or in a person’s own home. Often patients receive care in more than one setting; for example short stays in hospital occurring whilst staying at home for as long as reasonably possible.

There is a lot of information available (especially on the Internet) about palliative care and our aim is not to reproduce it, but rather to provide an overview of the important information, particularly that which relates to our South West community, with links to relevant websites and direction for more information and resources. The WA Palliative Care Network and Palliative Care WA are especially informative and valuable websites.

People living in the South West need to be aware that to access palliative care (inpatient and home-based) they need to have a Medical Practitioner referral. For people who need to re-locate to Bunbury for their treatment and are expecting to be in Bunbury for several weeks, it would be worthwhile having their Medical Practitioner refer them to a Bunbury-based Medical Practitioner for the duration of their stay.

This facilitates continuity of care and ensures that there is an accessible medical practitioner in the team at all times.

There is a highly professional palliative care service in the South West with palliative care providers adopting a team approach and working in collaboration to deliver services based on the principles of Palliative Care Australia Standards.