Palliative Care

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients (adults and children) and their families who are facing problems associated with life-threatening illness. It prevents and relieves suffering through the early identification, correct assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, whether physical, psychosocial or spiritual.

Palliative care supports people with a life limiting illness and their families to live, die and grieve well.

- World Health Organisation

How does palliative care differ from other types of care?

Palliative care is not the same as end-of-life care. You can receive palliative care at any stage of your illness. You can also continue treatment for your illness while you are having palliative care.

What is end-of-life care?

End-of-life care is the care and services given to people and their families who are facing the end of their life. An important part of palliative care, End-of-life care is for people of any age and often involves bringing together a range of health professionals to help you to live out your life as comfortably as possible.

Wherever possible you can have end-of-life care where you and your family want. This can be at home, in hospital, in a hospice or a residential aged care facility.

Palliative Care Access to Core Medicines (PCAM) Project

The PCAM project provides palliative care support and assists people who wish to die at home through timely access to essential medicines. Visit our PCAM page for a complete Core Medicines List (CML) and map identifying the location of participating local community pharmacies in Melbourne.

My Palliative Care Journey

My Palliative Care Journey, is an eight-part video series of carers sharing their palliative care journey upon losing their loved ones.

The project is a collaborative work under the Greater Choices for at Home Palliative Care measure of Eastern Melbourne PHN, Palliative Care Victoria, Bolton Clarke, and the Eastern Melbourne Regional Palliative Care Consortium.

The eight part series includes (view in YouTube):

Be advised: The videos contains personal stories of people in their journey of the loss of a loved one. You may find some content of these videos distressing. Please remember help and support is available.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program contains the names of people who have died.

If at any time you would like to talk to a professional with experience in grief and loss, please contact:


1300 845 745 available Midday to 3am AEST, 7 days a week


13 11 14 available 24 hours, 7 days a week

Your Voice Your Choice

Your Voice Your Choice, is a digital storytelling project that shares stories and knowledge around End of Life and Advance Care Planning.

The project is a collaborative work under the Greater Choices for at Home Palliative Care measure of Eastern Melbourne PHN; Adelaide PHN; Perth North, Perth South and Country WA; Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast PHN; Brisbane South PHN working with Advance Care Planning Australia.

A space to share stories and knowledge of community, carers and health sector professionals.

This video as well as more in the series are available to view via our YouTube channel.

If at any time you would like to talk to a professional with experience in grief and loss, please contact:


1300 845 745 available Midday to 3am AEST, 7 days a week


13 11 14 available 24 hours, 7 days a week

For further information and resources on Advance Care Planning, visit Advance Care Planning Australia’s website.

EMPHNs Greater Choices For At Home Palliative Care Program

EMPHN has been funded for the Greater Choices for At Home Palliative Care Program. This program aims to improve palliative care coordination across Australia, to support most people’s preference to be cared for and to die at home.

At EMPHN, we are working closely with providers of palliative care services across our catchment, as well as other PHNs in a Community of Practice to share knowledge and initiatives. We’re also promoting education opportunities for GPs about palliative care, and working with Residential Aged Care Homes (RACHs) to understand their needs in relation to palliative care resources and connections with specialist palliative care services.

EMPHN is working collaboratively with public and private providers to improve access to safe quality palliative care and to create the following impacts:

  • Patient preferences for end of life care in the home can be better supported.
  • RACH and GP confidence to manage and support patients at end of life in their preferred location is enhanced.
  • RACHs and GPs are better able to recognise and manage acute deterioration in symptoms, resulting in fewer hospitalisation of palliative patients.
  • After hours services are complemented with technology.
"Most people prefer to die comfortably at home or in a home-like environment with minimal pain and suffering. They hope to be surrounded by friends and family and the care services they need. A good death meets the individual physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of the dying person."

Dying well, Hal Swerissen and Stephen Duckett, Grattan Institute, September 2014

Palliative Care Services, Resources and Support

Information for consumers and families

Palliative Care Advice Service (PCAS)

This is a free, confidential advice service for anyone in Victoria who needs information about a life-limiting illness, palliative or end-of-life care. It is for non-emergency health advice only.

Palliative Care Australia

Palliative Care Australia is the national peak body for palliative care. One of the services they offer is the National Palliative Care Service Directory, which provides information about:

  • specialist palliative care services and providers
  • services that provide general palliative care such as general practices and allied health
  • organisations and community support agencies who provide services to people living with a life-limiting illness and/or their carers.

Palliative Care Victoria

Palliative Care Victoria is the peak body for palliative care and end of life care. It provides information for families and patients, and for healthcare professionals.

Advance Care Planning Australia

Advance care planning is the process of planning for your future health care. It relates to health care you would, or would not like to receive, if you were to become seriously ill or injured and are unable to communicate your preferences or make decisions. This often relates to the care you receive at the end of your life.

Advance care planning gives you the opportunity to think about, discuss and record your preferences for the type of care you would receive and the outcomes you would consider acceptable. It helps to ensure your loved ones and doctors know what your health and personal preferences are and that these preferences are respected.


CareSearch is a Palliative Care Knowledge Network that consolidates online palliative care knowledge for people needing palliative care and their families, for the general community, and for healthcare professionals.

Carers Victoria

Carers Victoria is the state-wide voice for family carers, representing and providing support to carers in Victoria.

Carer Help

CarerHelp provides access to high quality information and resources that support carers in their role, including offering a carer library and fact sheets. Caring for someone at the end of their life is a very important role. People who do this help the person they care for and that person’s family and friends. They also help the community by reducing the pressure on our health care system. Carers are vital members of the Australian community and we are so thankful for what they do.

Information for GPs, Aged Care Staff and other health professionals

Eastern Palliative Care Service

Eastern Palliative Care Service is a not-for-profit, free, home-based palliative care service which offers a full range of support programs. It provides services in the Local Government areas of Boroondara, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Whitehorse, Knox and Yarra Ranges.

Banksia Palliative Care Service

Banksia Palliative Care Service is a not-for-profit organisation and the sole Victorian State Government funded community palliative care service. It provides services in the Local Government areas of Banyule, Nillumbik and Whittlesea.

End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC)

ELDAC provides information, guidance, and resources to health professionals and aged care workers to support palliative care and advance care planning to improve the care of older Australians.

Palliative Aged Care Outcomes Program

The primary objective of PACOP is to systematically improve palliative and end-of-life care through routine assessment of the needs of residents in aged care facilities, and the collection of data to evaluate their access to care based on assessed needs.

Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA)

PEPA forms part of the Palliative Care Education and Training Collaborative (the Collaborative). As a national palliative care project, the Collaborative takes a strategic approach to education and training of the healthcare workforce and delivers programs for priority healthcare provider groups across primary, secondary and tertiary settings. PEPA provides opportunities to develop confidence, knowledge and skills in the palliative approach to care through funded clinical workforce placements or workshop, integration of learning into your workplace, and establishing networks of support.

The PEPA Learning System includes various online modules/courses which are self-paced learning. People need to set themselves up with a username and login to access learning. Two courses are particularly beneficial for GPs – Principles of Palliative Care and End of Life Law for Clinicians.


palliAGED is the palliative care evidence and practice information resource for the Australian aged care sector. Providing support for health and care practitioners, as well as resource developers, the website also provides trustworthy information for older Australians, their families and friends.