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Palliative and Supportive Care

Palliative and Supportive Care

What is palliative care?

Palliative care can be given at any stage during advanced cancer. It is important to remember palliative care is not only for people in their last days and weeks of life people can live with advanced or incurable ovarian cancer for quite some time. The specialist palliative care support can be provided in your home, in hospital, in a palliative care unit or hospice setting. The services offered through palliative care will be tailored to your individual needs.  

There are many benefits in thinking about palliative care when you are still well. It is important you receive the opportunity to be actively involved in and plan for your ongoing care. It can provide practical, psychological and medical comfort and support for people faced with an illness in its advanced stages.  

Depending on your needs, which will change over time, a palliative care service can provide you and those close to you with:  

  • management of pain and other difficult symptoms  

  • specialist nursing in the home, hospital or hospice setting  

  • nutritional care and support  

  • assessment of and practical help with daily living including equipment to help you manage at home  

  • emotional and spiritual support  

  • an understanding of the physical changes and symptoms you are experiencing and how to manage these, so you are more comfortable  

  • assistance with advance care plans  

  • grief and bereavement counselling.  

Types of palliative care services

Palliative care services are provided in a range of places. Most are provided at home by a community-based specialist palliative care service or a community nurse who visit people in their own homes. Community-based specialist palliative care services can provide excellent support. They usually provide people they are supporting with a number that they can call 24 hours a day if they need to speak to a palliative care nurse. Specialist palliative care services are also provided in: 

  • Hospitals 

  • outpatient clinics 

  • specialist inpatient palliative care units/hospices 

Referrals to palliative care

You can be referred to a palliative care service by any member of your healthcare team or by your carers, or you can make direct contact with your local specialist community palliative care service yourself. You will need a doctor’s referral to be admitted to an inpatient palliative care unit. The cost of palliative care services varies according to the type of service provided, but those provided in the public health system are generally free.

More information and support


Resilience Kit

For up-to-date, evidence based information on all aspects of living with ovarian cancer, and where to find support, download or order a free copy of our Resilience Kit

Acknowledgement flags

Ovarian Cancer Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land where our office is located, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation and we pay our respects to Elders past and present.