Palliative Care Australia

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I’m a Health Professional

To find the nearest palliative care service, see the National Palliative Care Service Directory.

Health care professional’s role in palliative care

The term ’health care professional’ covers a wide range of professions, including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists and nutritionists. There are many people who provide palliative care services. Some specialise in palliative care as a full-time role and others will have palliative care as a part of their daily work.

Palliative care adopts a team-based, interdisciplinary approach to providing end-of-life care to a person and their primary carers. A palliative care team may include a number of different health care professionals. The involvement of these professionals will be based on the needs of the person receiving care.

Quality palliative care and end-of-life support is required for people of all ages across all aspects of care. In practice, health care professionals provide services for people at different stages of their respective conditions, depending on their specialty and practice setting.  Palliative care is centred on the patient and their primary carers. Therefore, health care professionals are required to have the appropriate skills and knowledge needed to provide quality end-of-life care.

 Professional development in palliative care is a key factor in ensuring that the health care system meets the different needs of health care professionals. Inter-professional learning, combined with specific learning opportunities based on profession are effective approaches towards preparing health care professionals to provide quality end-of-life care.  Cultural awareness and culturally safe practice needs is a vital part of learning at all levels.

In order to ensure that the patient‘s physical, emotional, spiritual and practical needs are met, a health care professional must take the time to become familiar with their values and end-of-life wishes. The quality of support delivered to the patient and their primary carers is important in determining both the immediate and on-going impact palliative care providers made.

Health care professionals work towards providing support that improves the quality of life for the person and those closest to them. This is achieved by providing patients and carers access to information and the support services they need. Open communication between health care professionals, patients and carers is essential in facilitating this. Health care professionals must be aware of palliative care, and inform patients and carers on what information and services are available to them.


For more information about palliative care for a health professional, click on the links below. These pages are also available to download.

Links to Professional bodies


PCC4UPalliative 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. 

Compassionate Communities: An implementation guide for community approaches to end of life care* – The purpose of this implementation guide is to provide an information resource on how to initiate, grow and sustain compassionate communities approaches. It draws from literature and best practice on compassionate communities and public health approaches to palliative care, end of life care and bereavement.

Final Report: Compassionate Communities Feasibility Study*– This final report presents the collective findings of the feasibility study which will inform the Department of Health’s broader work to improve policies and programs and create an enabling policy environment for public health approaches to palliative care, end of life care and bereavement.

     *These documents were developed by Nous Group, supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Health. The views in these documents do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Department of Health or Palliative Care Australia.

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.

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