Referral information

When to Refer

Knowing the right time to access palliative care will depend on the patient's needs. Palliative Care focuses on managing difficult symptoms of people with a life limiting illness.

If patients or carers are feeling distressed by symptoms, they can ask to be referred to Specialist Palliative Care for advice. Your GP usually continues to be your main point of contact.

Palliative Care support can help patients and carers to think about their goals for care, and what treatments are going to provide comfort and quality of life.

Palliative care can be offered alongside other treatments, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Expert care to manage symptoms, helps to keep patients lucid, interactive and comfortable. Good management of symptoms helps people to live well for longer.

Patients can only be referred to specialist palliative care services by a doctor. If you wish to be referred, you should speak with your doctor/GP or medical specialist. Medical referrals remain valid for a limited time, and should be discussed with the referring doctor at the time.

Once referred, patients can expect to be contacted promptly, often within a few days of the referral being made.

Referral information for Medical Officers

Referral to the Specialist Palliative Care Service must be completed by a medical officer. Referrals should ideally include:

  • Patient information and consent to palliative care referral.
  • Carer or 'person responsible' details.
  • Diagnosis and date of diagnosis.
  • Current medications, relevant scans and pathology reports.
  • Summary of medical officers' concerns for patient, including concerns for carers.

NOTE: Further information is also available for medical officers on Health Pathways.