I’m a Health Professional
Find the nearest palliative care service for your patient, see the Directory of Services.
GPs and health professionals looking for advice on pain and symptom management can contact Decision Assist.
For information about training and the National Standards Assessment Program (NSAP) click here.
Health care professional’s role in palliative care
The term “health care professional” covers a wide range of professions from a doctor, nurse and physical therapist to a pharmacist and nutritionist. There are many people who provide palliative care – some will specialise in palliative care as a full time role, and others will have palliative care as a part of their daily work, including General Practitioners (GPs) and aged care nurses.
Palliative care adopts a team based, interdisciplinary approach to providing care to a person and their family and/or carer/s. A palliative care team may include a number of health professionals including doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, physiotherapists, bereavement counsellors, and pastoral care workers. The involvement of these and other health professionals will be based on the needs of the person receiving care and how their quality of life can be improved.
Quality palliative care is required for people at all ages and across all settings of care. In practice, health professionals will provide services for people at different stages of life-limiting condition, depending on their specialty and practice setting. An integrated and person-centred system of care, with the involvement of those closest to the person, requires all health care professionals to have the level of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviours appropriate for their context of practice. All health professionals must be appropriately prepared for providing end-of-life care.
Continuing professional development in palliative care is an important part of the overall health care system to meet the needs of health professionals in various practice contexts to promote accessibility and ongoing learning in the palliative care field. Inter-professional learning, combined with appropriate discipline specific learning opportunities are effective approaches for preparing health professionals to provide quality end-of-life care. Cultural competence and culturally safe practice needs is an important part of learning at all levels.
A health professional involved in palliative care should be familiar with the values and wishes of the person they are caring for in order to ensure that person’s ongoing physical, emotional, practical and spiritual needs are met. The extent and quality of support provided to the person and their carer is an important determinant of both of their experiences, and the ongoing impacts this experience has on a person, in particular the family, loved ones or carer/s.
The health professional works towards achieving care that improves the quality of life for the person and those closest to them. This can be done through providing access to information and support to the person and their family, loved ones or carer/s to enable them to access the health care and support services they need. Open communication between the health professional, the person and those closest to them is also essential for this to happen. The health professional needs to be aware of what services and information is available on palliative care and provide this information early on to the person and those closest to them – this is essential for people to make fully informed decisions and have the best possible quality of life.
For more information about palliative care for a health professional, click on the links below. These pages are also available to download.
- Directory of Services
- Decision Assist
- National Standards Assessment Program
- Facts about morphine and other opioid medicines in palliative care
- What is palliative care?
- Understanding grief
- Guide to a Social Media Afterlife
Links to Professional bodies
- Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine
- Palliative Care Nurses Australia
- Perinatal Palliative Care Special Interest Group
- Allied Health Hub
- CareSearch – an online resource of palliative care information and evidence
- Residential Aged Care Hub
- GP Hub
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Resources
- Lesbian, Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex
- Older People
- Prisoners and Their Families
- Refugees and Asylum Seekers
- Rural and remote
PCC4U – Palliative Care Curriculum for Undergraduates (PCC4U) aims to promote and sustain the inclusion of the principles and practice of palliative care in all health care training.
Disclaimer: PCA provides these links for information purpose only. It is not responsible for the content of these websites.
If you notice any of the links are broken, or would like to suggest additional information resources to be added, please contact us.