Understanding a Palliative Approach

A palliative approach to care maintains the quality of life for older people who have a disease or illness that cannot be cured or who are becoming frail. It supports quality of life by planning and addressing needs as they arise. In older populations people with dementia will be more common. This needs to be considered when providing a palliative approach to care.

A palliative approach looks at:
  • Early identification of the palliative phase.
  • Assessment of current and future needs.
  • Treatment of pain.
  • Addressing physical, cultural, psychological, social and spiritual needs.
Aboriginal and Torres Islander people have poorer health and higher rates of disability than non-Indigenous people. For this reason, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and over are included in aged care planning, as distinct from 65 years and over for non-Indigenous people.

The palliative approach to care promotes safe and quality care that can reduce distress and manage pain and other symptoms in a timely way. This approach involves the older person and their family in decision making. It also recognises and values nursing skills in caring for older people with a life-limiting illness.

The Nurse's Role in a Palliative Approach

Referring to Specialist Palliative Care

Finding a Palliative Care Service

Page updated 04 December 2023

palliAGED is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.