Aged care services through My Aged Care can help you to stay as comfortable as possible during this final stage of life. Aged care providers can also help you access specialist palliative care services if needed.
You do not have to be receiving aged care services to access palliative care services. Support is also available for families and carers.
Support is available for older people nearing the end of their life, whether at home or in an aged care home.
Support in your own home
There are a number of aged care services that may help you stay in the comfort of your own home. These services can include:
- Nursing care
A qualified nurse can, for example, dress a wound or provide continence advice
- Domestic assistance
Help with household jobs like cleaning, clothes washing and ironing
- Personal care
Help with bathing or showering, dressing, hair care and going to the toilet
- Meals and other food services
Assistance with preparing and eating meals, or help for those with special diets
Help to get out to do shopping or go to appointments
- Health support or counselling
There are a number of services that offer a range of therapies and emotional support
Support in an aged care home
Staff in the aged care home will help you feel as comfortable and supported as possible. They can help develop a care plan to best support you, your family, and carers. A good care plan may:
- show how pain and other symptoms might be managed
- show how emotional and spiritual support could be provided
- show how cultural support could be provided
- help family members make decisions about care options
- help those involved know what to expect
- show how support to families and carers through the bereavement process could be provided.
Staff will also be able to help with nursing support or pain management. If you think extra support is needed, you can ask your aged care home if you can purchase additional staff hours to help.
Will I need to leave my aged care home?
In most cases, you will be able to stay in your aged care home. You may need to leave if your aged care home is unable to provide the care and support that you need. The Resident Agreement should outline if they can provide care at the final stages of life. Depending on the terms in the agreement, a decision to go to hospital for treatment will be made between you and your doctor. If you do go to hospital, your place must be kept at the home.
Specialist palliative care services provide the best quality of life for a person with a terminal illness, and support for their family and carers.
You do not have to be receiving aged care services to access palliative care services. Doctors, aged care providers, state or territory health departments and community health services can help you access palliative care.
Palliative care services can be provided in a range of settings, including your home, an aged care home, hospital, or a palliative care unit.
There are also specialised palliative care services to cater for diverse needs. For instance, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and LBGTI people.
For more information on palliative care services available in your local area, ask your GP, or contact the National Palliative Care Service Directory.
Read more about palliative care on the Department of Health and Aged Care website.
Start the conversation
Many of us don’t like talking about the type of care we want at the end of our lives. But it’s only through these conversations that we can let people know about the care we want and the things we value.
Read more about tips to start the conversation and questions to think about when planning for end-of-life care.
Advance care planning
Advance care planning helps you think about your future medical treatment and health care needs. By creating a plan in advance, your family, friends, carers and doctors can understand how you would like to be cared for both now and in the future. This is important whether you are receiving aged care services or not.
You may choose to give someone you trust an enduring power of attorney or enduring guardianship to make medical treatment and other decisions if you are no longer able to do so. The requirements for these vary from state to state. They must be made while you are still fully able to understand the action you are taking.
Read more about how to create and advance care plan and document your wishes on the Department of Health and Aged Care website.
If you are caring for someone who is nearing the end of their life, there is help and support available. Read more about caring for someone at the end of their life.
You may need to take a short break from time to time. Read more about how to access planned or emergency respite care.
When you spend most of your time looking after other people, it's easy to forget to look after yourself. There is a range of services available to support you as a carer.