Care at home
For many people, care at the end of life and palliative care is provided in their home. Home could mean the house you live in, or another place that has personal, cultural or spiritual significance.
You may receive care for days, weeks, months or even years. Whether you stay at home, rather than relocate to a hospital, palliative care unit or residential aged care facility, depends on factors including:
- the level of care required for your illness or condition
- your home environment
- how much support you have from family or carers or in your community
- whether someone is at home to care for you.
If you need help to enable you to stay living at home, there are services that may be able to provide different types of support.
Sometimes, family members or friends can help.
Paid caregivers can also help with day-to-day activities such as bathing, cooking, or cleaning.
Palliative care services can help with accessing community nursing, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and social work. Your GP will also be able to refer you to an appropriate service.
These different support services can visit your home for a few hours or stay all day, depending on your specific needs.
If you need medical support you can:
- find more information about treatment and care towards the end of life
- call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84)
- talk to your local doctor for medical check-ups, advice on medications and referrals to other services
- visit a hospital or health centre for more specialised support
- access specialists in rural and remote areas
- find reputable online medical help and information.
You may be required to attend an outpatient clinic at your local hospital or health service. In an outpatient clinic, you will receive multidisciplinary assessment, care planning and interventions when you are not hospitalised.
Frequency of appointments is based on individual needs—usually fortnightly or monthly.
You may need to drive or arrange transportation to this type of care—find out more about transport options.
Home-based nursing and support services
If you need help to enable you to keep living at home, there are services that may be able to provide support.
Specialist palliative care services can help with accessing community nursing, occupational therapy or physiotherapy. Your general practitioner will also be able to refer you to an appropriate service.
People under 65 who have a disability or a condition that restricts day-to-day living may be eligible for support through the Community Care program.
You may also require medical aids and equipment to help perform tasks by increasing ease and safety, and promoting independence.
Hospital in the Home
The Hospital in the Home (HITH) service provides you with high-level care in your own home (or another selected location) so that you don't have to stay in hospital.
The service is organised for an agreed period of time to help you during your recovery.
Read more about Hospital in the Home.
After hours palliative care
Most people who have been referred to a palliative care service or community service provider will be given advice about who and how to contact someone outside of business hours for information and support. Speak to your GP, palliative care or healthcare team for more information about options available in your local area.
Find more information about:
- a range of after-hours medical help and advice
- PalAssist, which is a Queensland-wide, free 24-hour telephone and online service for palliative care patients, carers, family and friends seeking practical information and emotional support.
When your care needs change
While there are a lot of benefits from being cared for at home, staying at home may not always be possible. Sometimes you may need more support than can be provided at home, or those caring for you either need a break or can no longer cope with your increasing needs. If your condition deteriorates, you may need to consider another care option such as a hospital, inpatient palliative care service or a residential care facility.
This may only be temporary, due to a worsening of your condition or fluctuations in your needs. A hospital or palliative care service admission may be required to manage a difficult symptom or to care for you while further home-based support is organised for you. People often return home after an admission for specialist treatment. It is sometimes possible for a community palliative care team to manage these temporary exacerbations at home, so that you avoid a hospital stay.
Every day, 133 older Queenslanders have a fall requiring medical attention, even though falls are mostly preventable. People who have life-limiting illnesses are particularly vulnerable to falls. Falls have a big impact on mobility and independence, but there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk. If you start to notice that your legs are weaker, or that your balance is off, you should talk to your GP or healthcare team. Many things can affect your balance.
The Queensland Stay on Your Feet program provides information about preventing falls and staying healthy and independent.
The program is for seniors and people who work with seniors, and provides:
- exercises for strength, balance, flexibility and endurance
- advice on reducing falls in the home
- risk assessment tools for professionals.
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