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Living well with cancer: An introduction to Palliative Care

By June 8, 2023No Comments

These two words can bring about an array of emotions to our clients and families. Bloomhill Cancer nurse’s have many conversations with our clients who have been referred to Palliative Care or have been made ‘palliative’ and this can bring a great deal of fear and distress as some feel this represents the final step in their cancer journey and that nothing further can be done for them. This is actually quite the opposite and sometimes using the term ‘supportive care’ can alleviate such stress.

Palliative care is specialised medical care which focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms from an incurable illness. The goal is to provide comfort and improve quality of life for clients and their families, this care is offered alongside other treatments a client may be receiving, including the beautiful care from your Bloomhill team. A client may remain under the care of Palliative Care for weeks, months, years and this care is provided by Doctors, specialist nurses, social workers, chaplains and other trained specialists. These people will work with you, your loved ones and your other providers to add another layer of support and relief that complements your ongoing care.

There are many symptoms that may be improved by your Palliative Care team including;

  • Pain Management
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Constipation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping.

Our experienced nursing team and allied health professionals here at Bloomhill will also work alongside your Palliative care team to help alleviate these symptoms whilst providing support, relief and education. Prior to your initial Palliative Care appointment here are a few suggestions to help prepare you;

  1. Make a list of symptoms you are experiencing, write down what helps or worsens these and whether they affect your day to day living.
  2. Take a list of medicines and supplements you use. Write down the frequency and doses you take. If able, write down what you used that helped with your symptoms or that didn’t.
  3. Please take a support person with you. This appointment can be overwhelming with a lot of discussion and the more ears the better.
  4. Take your Advanced Care Plan if you have one.
  5. Remember, no question is a silly question.

Your Palliative Care Plan is designed to fit your life and needs and the focus is on living well with the best quality of life attainable. It also opens the door to many more resources such as Counselling, not only for yourself but your loved ones, the hiring of specialised equipment to make being at home more achievable and safe, the guidance to write your Advanced care plan and discussions around end of life care.

Please remember that Palliative care is a positive step in your care, there is nothing scary about it. The clients that have been referred to Palliative Care and been introduced to some of their facilities always speak positively about their experiences and come out often with a sense of renewed hope and relief that they are in amazing hands.

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Image Freepik.com

As always please come and chat to your Bloomhill Nursing Team, we offer ongoing support, advice and education and if we don’t know the answer we will endeavour to find out.

Additional information can also be found via the below Palliative Care Providors.

  • Cittamani Hospice Service 07 5445 0822
  • Dove Specialist Palliative Care Inpatient Unit- 07 5436 8633
  • PalAssist is a free Queensland telephone and online service for palliative care patients, carers, family and friends seeking practical information and emotional support.
    Call 1800 772 273 (from 7am to 7pm, 7 days), search for palliative care services in your area, or you can chat online.

Please contact our Nurses on 07 5445 5794 or nurses@bloomhill.com.au if you have any questions.

All information provided by Bloomhill is based on research and best practice guidelines. Our model of care utilizes the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) domains of wellness along with available clinical evidence.  Always consult your care team regarding matters that affect your health. This is a guide intended for information only.