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What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care aims to help a person live as well as possible

The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life for patients, their families and carers by providing care that addresses their physical, emotional, social, cultural, and spiritual needs.Palliative care aims to help a person live as well as possible.

Many people fear the term ‘palliative care’, believing it is only about dying. It is true that palliative care is for people who have an illness for which there is no cure, however, the role of palliative care is to support patients, as well as their families, in living with their illness.

Often when people think of palliative care, they think it is about helping people with cancer. Palliative care can help with other diseases. This may include people with:

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

Palliative care is a special type of care. It aims to support you to live well while you manage your illness. Palliative care can help when you are having active treatment. It can help when you have an illness that cannot be cured. It can help when you are dying.

What is supportive care?

Supportive care is the care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. The goal of supportive care is to prevent or treat as early as possible the symptoms of a disease, side-effects caused by treatment of a disease, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment. Also called comfort care, palliative care, and symptom management.


When to access specialist palliative
and supportive care?
When to access specialist palliative and supportive care?

Palliative and supportive care can be accessed early in the course of an illness, together with other therapies intended to prolong life and living, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes tests/investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing symptoms.

A small number of people experience severe or complex problems as their condition advances. These people may be referred to a specialist service where a team of specialist professionals will work to meet their needs.

At Cabrini, we provide palliative and supportive care throughout all campuses of our health service and we specialise in complex care at the Cabrini Prahran inpatient unit. We provide services both in hospital and home, to ensure quality of life is enhanced wherever possible.


Our Specialist Palliative Care Unit 

The inpatient unit at Prahran provides acute and intensive specialist palliative and end of life care, set in a homelike environment.

Palliative Care where you live

The community service provides specialist palliative care to people living at home or in residential aged care.


Palliative Care across Cabrini

A specialist medical consultant service is available to patients at Cabrini Malvern and Cabrini Brighton on referral from a treating specialist doctor.

Supportive Care Clinic 

This clinic provides the opportunity for you to access a Palliative Care Specialist whilst you remain home.