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Palliative care after stroke

What you need to know

  • Palliative care is for people who are nearing the end of their life.
  • It is a specialised treatment that looks at all aspects of care.
  • It may be provided in the home, a hospital, a residential aged care facility or a hospice.

About palliative care

Some strokes are very severe and the person may die as a result. Palliative care is specialised care and support for people who are nearing the end of their life. Palliative care aims to achieve the best possible quality of life for the person and their family.

Palliative care includes physical, psychological, social, emotional and spiritual needs. Palliative care aims to provide relief from symptoms, pain and stress. Families and carers also receive support from palliative care services.

Where palliative care is provided

Palliative care can be provided in hospital, in an aged care home, in a hospice or in your own home.

Many people prefer to receive palliative care at home. Whether this is possible depends on the person’s medical and care needs, and how much support is available from family and services.

People who are nearing the end of their life may need to move between places. This may happen if their medical and support needs change.

Palliative care services

For some people, end-of-life care is provided by their treating team. Other people, particularly those with severe or complex needs, may be referred to a specialist palliative care team.

A palliative care team may include:

  • Specialist palliative care doctors and nurses.
  • Dietitians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, social workers and speech pathologists.
  • Grief and bereavement counsellors.

The care provided will be based on individual needs and personal preferences.

Palliative care at home

If it is possible to receive palliative care in your own home, the specialist palliative care team will work with your doctor and with community services.
They will talk to you and your family about what care and support is needed and help arrange these. This may include:

  • Medicines and other medical equipment.
  • Nursing, personal care and domestic assistance.
  • Equipment to help make you comfortable, and to make it easier and safer for the people caring for you.
  • Training and education for your family in how best to help you.
  • Access to emotional, psychological and spiritual support.

Planning your care

You, your family and carers are important members of the team that will plan your
end-of-life care. It is important you are given all the information you need and are involved in decisions about your treatment.

It is important to talk with your health professionals about the care you would like to receive. This will help make sure your wishes and needs are met.

As part of your care, your health professional may talk to you and your family about using a medical power of attorney or an advance health directive. Your health professional may also talk to you and your family about organ donation if it is a possibility. 

More help

StrokeLine’s health professionals provide information, advice, support and referral. StrokeLine’s practical and confidential advice will help you manage your health better and live well.
Call 1800 STROKE (1800 787 653).
Email strokeline@strokefoundation.org.au

Join Australia’s largest stroke community for information and support.
EnableMe: stronger after stroke
enableme.org.au

Palliative Care Australia’s website has information and links about palliative care and other resources.
palliativecare.org.au

 

Download the Palliative care after stroke fact sheet (PDF 569 KB)

For more information visit the EnableMe resource topic on Palliative care.