‘Palliative care’ is care for a person of any age who has a life-limiting illness.
Palliative care involves supporting and helping the person to live as comfortably and fully as possible.
A ‘life-limiting illness’ is one that cannot be cured and may at some time result in the person dying (whether that is years, months, weeks or days away).
Palliative care involves providing assistance at all stages of the life-limiting illness.
Palliative care is provided in the community, in hospices and in hospitals.
It can be provided by all health care professionals, including GPs and district nurses – supported where necessary by specialist palliative care services.
Hospices are the main providers of specialist palliative care services for people living in the community.
Where is palliative care delivered?
In New Zealand palliative care is delivered in a variety of settings with palliative care generally available where the patient is – be that home, hospital, residential care or hospice. This also reflects that the level of palliative care support required by any individual, family or whanau is dynamic and varies during the course of the life-limiting condition into bereavement.
Who delivers palliative care?
Palliative care is best delivered through an integrated approach to care that recognises the roles and responsibilities of both generalists and specialists in meeting palliative care needs.
What is 'Generalist’ palliative care?
This is palliative care provided for those affected by life limiting condition as an integral part of standard clinical practice by any healthcare professional who is not part of a specialist palliative care team. It is provided in the community by general practice teams, Maori health providers, allied health teams, and residential care staff etc. It is provided in hospitals by general ward staff, as well as disease specific teams – for instance oncology, respiratory, renal and cardiology.
Reference: Ministry of Health (MOH) - 2015