End of life care at home

Caring for someone at the end of their life

If you are caring for someone who is nearing the end of their life, there is help and support available during this difficult time.

As a carer your presence and actions can provide emotional and physical support for the person who is nearing the end of their life. You know their wishes and needs and can help those providing care to make things as comfortable as possible during this stage.

Services to help at home

There are a number of aged care services that may help a person nearing the end of their life to stay in the comfort of their own home. These services include:

  • nursing care – a qualified nurse comes to your home and may, for example, dress a wound or provide continence advice
  • domestic assistance – household jobs like cleaning, clothes washing and ironing
  • counselling
  • 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
  • transport – help to get out to do shopping or go to appointments
  • health support – there are a number of services that offer a range of therapies such as podiatry (foot care) or physiotherapy (exercise, mobility, strength and balance).

Palliative care

For people who have an advanced illness with little or no prospect of cure, palliative care can be provided at home.

Short-term respite care

Carers and family members looking after someone who is nearing the end of their life and remaining in their own home may need to take a short break from time to time. If you need respite, Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres may be able to organise either short-term or emergency respite services.

Support for carers

When you spend most of your time looking after other people it’s easy to forget to look after yourself. It is important to take time to help you stay fit, healthy and relaxed. Here are some tips to help you take care of your own health and wellbeing. There are also counselling and other support services available to help you.

Next steps

Next steps

  • Call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to talk about options that may be available for you.
  • Contact a Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 to find out more about respite services.
  • Read more about planning end of life care and respite care.

Last reviewed: 19 December, 2016.