Make the best decision now for you and your family later

Western Australians are being urged to engage with palliative care services soon after diagnosis of incurable illness to ensure they enjoy the life they love, with the people they love, for as long as possible.

Many people believe palliative care is only for the last few weeks of life, however when accessed early, palliative care services can enhance the quality of a person’s life through interventions such as symptom management, counselling and support to meet cultural obligations.

“Palliative care is not only for the elderly, it is for people of any age who have been diagnosed with a progressive serious illness that cannot be cured,” said Dr Alison Parr, Department of Health’s clinical lead, Palliative Care.

“Planning ahead empowers people to shape the care provided to them and to live their best life for longer.

“Palliative care includes providing support for the person and their loved ones from a range of health professionals and making and sharing decisions and plans with appropriate people to help ensure that what matters most to the individual remains everyone’s priority.

“Palliative care is not just for the end-of-life, it can sometimes span years, for example to manage pain, and in some circumstances, it can even extend a person’s life.”

The Department of Health has launched a campaign to raise awareness and improve understanding of palliative care in the community, called This is Palliative Care.

Palliative care is for anyone diagnosed with a life-threatening illness that cannot be cured, regardless of age. This involves consultation         with health professionals to help optimise quality of life, prioritising what is important and sharing plans with family. 

West Australians are encouraged to:

1. Learn about palliative care and end-of-life decision making, visit or call the Palliative Care WA Helpline on 1800 573 299.

2. Think about what matters most to you and how palliative care could help improve quality of life for you or someone you care about.

3. Talk to family, carers, friends and health professionals about palliative care and the type of care you might want now and into                         the future.

4. Write down information about your preferences and decisions and 

5. Share your information, decisions and plans with relevant family members, carers, friends and health professionals

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes palliative care as: “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial, and spiritual.”