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Carers need support and understanding

Finding out someone you know is going to die comes as a shock. Their world has suddenly changed. Anxiety, sadness and even anger at the news are all common reactions. Many people, though, choose to see themselves as living with a disease or condition, rather than dying from it. If the person is accessing palliative care, they will be receiving care that aims to help them live as well as possible and to stay in control.

The extent and quality of support provided to a carer and the person nearing the end of life is key to the experience they both have. Caring for someone who is dying is an individual commitment and can be a rich, rewarding and challenging experience. There is often a heavy emotional strain associated with care-giving at the end of life, with carers potentially experiencing fatigue, resentment, social isolation and stress.

For fact sheets to help provide knowledge and support, please visit the links from Palliative Care Australia, below:

What is palliative care? – Palliative care is for anyone of any age, who has been told that they have a serious illness that cannot be cured. These brochures talk about what palliative care is, who it is for and how to source it.

Directory of Services – You can search the National Palliative Care Service Directory to find palliative care services in locations around Australia.

Discussion Starters – These resources will help you start a discussion with friends and family on how you want to be cared for at the end of your life.

Dementia and palliative care discussion paper – This discussion paper provides guidance for health professionals on palliative and end-of-life care for people with dementia and those who support them.

How can I support my friend/family member?  – This page will help you with some ideas about what to say and do with a friend or family members who have a terminal condition.

Learn more about pain and pain management – Effective pain management is an important part of palliative care. This resource talks about how to help control your pain, opiate side effects and feel confident in working out whether medication is needed. 

Massage therapy in palliative care – This resource explains the benefits of massage therapy in palliative care.

Palliative Care Online Training – The training program has been developed to help aged and community care workers, carers, volunteers, family members and health professionals who provide palliative care to aged persons in the community. The modules will help you develop your skills and confidence so that you feel better able to care for the person at the end of their life.

Ten questions to ask about palliative care in residential aged care – These questions will be helpful in determining whether an aged care service can manage the palliative care needs of a person with a life-limiting illness.

The dying process – This leaflet asks the question of what does dying look like? What are the changes that happen and what should you expect?

Tips for Managing Grief During the Holiday Season – The holiday season can be a particularly difficult time for managing grief. This page suggests some tips, services and books to help you deal with grief.

Understanding grief – Everyone experiences grief in their own way. This resource provides information on the grieving process and provides some guidance about what might support you.

General information and support for carers

CarerHelp is managed by the Centre for Palliative care. It provides the following benefits for carers:

  • Access to high-quality information and resources that support them in the carer role
  • Knowledge of the services available to carers
  • An understanding of what to expect when someone is dying
  • A greater sense of control over their role
  • Better communication with the health care team, family and friends
  • Great well-being
Andrew Annette hands