Palliative and Supportive Care

Cabrini’s Palliative and Supportive Care provides compassionate and expert care to people living with life-limiting illnesses. Our primary aim is to optimise our patients’ quality of life. We focus on providing comfort and support.

General Inquiries

Phone: (03) 9508 5027
Fax: (03) 9508 5050

Contact palliativecare@cabrini.com.au
Operating Hours

24 hours, 7 days a week

Referral

Required.

For Patients | For GPs
Downloads

Palliative and Supportive Care Booklet

Palliative and Supportive Care Flyer

Locations

Palliative & Supportive Care
646 High Street, Prahran VIC 3181
(03) 9508 1000

What is Palliative and Supportive Care?

Cabrini's Palliative and Supportive Care is a unique service with the ability to anticipate and respond to the individual needs of patients and their families in a variety of settings when and where required. We provide palliative and supportive care throughout our hospitals and health facilities, and specialise in complex symptom management at the Cabrini Prahran inpatient unit.

Our enhanced model of care ensures that our palliative and supportive care services are integrated early on into our patients’ treatment plans. Research shows that early integration has many proven benefits and can help extend life expectancy for people living with terminal or life-limiting illnesses.

Palliative and Supportive care is an integral part of Cabrini’s Cancer Care and Chronic Disease Management programs. It is not uncommon for patients to be still receiving treatments such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiotherapy or participating in clinical trials while engaging with our services. Patients can be discharged from the program when stable and re-admitted to the service when required. Palliative Care can assist with management of symptoms caused by treatments as well as those caused by other serious illnesses including:

  • Advanced lung, heart, kidney and liver diseases
  • Disabling stroke and other neurological diseases
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Motor Neurone Disease (MSD) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

The goal of Cabrini’s Palliative and Supportive care is to improve quality of life for patients, their families and carers. We provide expert and compassionate care to address not only people’s physical but emotional, social, cultural and spiritual needs. We also offer support in dying and grieving.

“The staff at the Cabrini Palliative care Prahran were beyond incredible.  Absolutely nothing was too much trouble. They showed my family so much care and support. They cared so very much for my Mum, they listened to family members, and helped us, they called me when they thought I should come down, they took all my endless phone calls about my Mum at any time of the day and night with so much care and professionalism” – from the daughter of a patient

Our multidisciplinary team of specialists including palliative care physicians, nurses, pharmacists, allied health professionals, volunteers and pastoral care specialists, work together to develop personalised treatment plans to enable patients to live their life to the fullest.

Our specialist Palliative Care Unit

The inpatient unit at Prahran provides acute and intensive specialist palliative and end of life care, set in a homelike environment. Patients admitted to this service have complex symptoms that require close monitoring and management including medication changes and infusions, nerve blocks and radiotherapy.

This is a short stay unit with the average length of stay 10-12 days, based on individual patient needs. The unit averages 60 admissions per month with the majority of patients being discharged home with the support of our community care specialists if living within a 15km radius.

This specialist centre is located at 646 High Street in Prahran, and offers 22 well equipped single rooms, each with their own ensuite. Our rooms surround a comfortable communal lounge room and tranquil garden courtyard.

Our multidisciplinary team will work with you and your family to set goals for your care based on your wishes. Patients admitted for symptom management and discharge planning are assisted with preparation and transition to home.

If home is no longer an option, we assist with preparations for alternative accommodation. We provide end of life care that focuses on comfort and peaceful care, supporting patients and families with physical, emotional and psychological needs.


Complimentary Therapies

We also offer a range of complimentary therapies to improve our patient's wellbeing including: 

  • Music therapy
  • Pet therapy
  • Massage therapy


Biography Service

Based on the tradition of oral storytelling, we offer a biography service which gives patients the opportunity to reflect on a life well lived. The completed biography is a wonderful gift for the storyteller to share with family and friends. The specially trained volunteer visits the patient in the home or at the place of care. For more information or to express interest in the Biography Service, please speak to your nurse or contact Cabrini Volunteer Services on (03) 9508 1084.

Palliative care where you live

The Cabrini Palliative Home Care service was the first privately funded community specialist palliative care service in Australia.

It provides nursing assessment and care to assist patients to be supported with symptom management and end of life care in their home environment, including residential aged care facilities.

The service works in partnership with GP’s and other health care, community and support services to:

  • provide advice and support to patients and carers regarding symptom management,
  • assesses the requirement for specialist medical involvement and hospitalisation and
  • support patients with end of life care in their home environment.

We are also seeking to improve the service offering to our community palliative care patients through the provision of allied health services for chronic disease and palliative home care patients who are unable to attend outpatient clinics and require home visits.  These allied health visits are on a fee for service basis and include Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Speech therapy and Social Work.  Pastoral services practitioners can also visit patients in their homes for psychosocial support. 

Home visits are generally scheduled between 9 am and 6 pm in accordance with patient preferences but there is an on call nurse available 24 hours a day to provide telephone advice and or after hour’s visits as required. The service currently operates within a 15 km boundary from Cabrini Malvern to ensure it is responsive to patient needs.

Cost of home care service

The home care service generally incurs no cost to patients as it is billed and funded through the patients’ private health insurance fund, however, an annual excess may be charged by some Health Funds. On referral to the service, administrative staff will check with your health insurer to ensure you are adequately covered and will explain the costs and obtain financial consent before commencement of care and service. Patients without private health cover may access the services on a fee for service basis.

In the event of your health provider not covering your costs or if you are unable to cover costs independently, we will advise you of alternative service providers.

Palliative Care across Cabrini

A specialist medical consultant service is available to patients at Cabrini Malvern and Cabrini Brighton on referral from a treating specialist doctor.

The service is provided with no out-of pocket expenses to the patient.

The palliative care medical staff will meet with you and with your medical team to determine treatment and care options. This can include recommendations for pain management, symptom control, and psychosocial support and may include transfer to the inpatient unit at Prahran or alternative service; or referral to the outpatients’ clinic or home care services for follow-up after discharge.

The palliative nursing liaison service is available to offer support and advice in relation to your specialist care needs. The liaison nurses work closely with the medical consultants, the ward staff and the Prahran inpatient and homecare service.

Supportive Outpatient Care Clinic

The Supportive Care Clinic is a weekly clinic based at the Cabrini Haematology Oncology Centre on Level 2 at Cabrini Malvern. You may be referred to the clinic by your GP, treating specialist, the community palliative care nurse or on discharge from Cabrini Prahran.

The clinic provides the opportunity for you to access a Palliative Care Specialist as an outpatient. There is no out of pocket cost charged by the doctor at this clinic.

To refer a patient to the Supportive Care clinic, please forward a written referral from your GP or specialist addressed to the Director of Palliative Medicine, 646 High Street, Prahran, 3181 or speak to your community palliative care nurse.

 

Resources

Commonly asked questions

  • When do you need to access palliative care?
    Palliative care can be accessed early in the course of an illness, together with other therapies intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes tests/investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing symptoms.
  • How is palliative care different to other health services?
    The main aim of palliative care is to provide comfort and support for patients and families. At Cabrini Health, we believe palliative care is about living with a terminal illness.
  • What is palliative care?

    Palliative care is the care of people with an advanced disease where cure is unlikely. This care is extended to a person's family and carers. Palliative care at Cabrini Health may be provided on the acute care units, by the Palliative Care Consult and Liaison team, or on the specialist Palliative Care Unit (PCU) and in the community setting in the patient’s home or residential aged care facility.

     

  • Why would I be referred to the Palliative Care Unit?

    People are admitted to the inpatient unit at Prahran when they have pain or other symptoms that require treatment by the specialist palliative care team of doctors, nurses, and allied health staff. Patients may also be admitted for end-of-life care or discharge planning.

     

  • How long will I be in the palliative care inpatient unit?

    Depending on the type and severity of your symptoms, you may be a patient in the unit for anything from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. Some patients come directly from the acute wards for discharge planning before going home, and other people may return to the unit for end-of-life care.

     

  • Will I be able to get home again?

    The inpatient unit aims for all patients to return home once their pain and symptoms are under control. Generally people stay for less than two weeks before returning home, except for patients who are imminently dying. Patients who are unable to return home but are medically stable will usually need to be referred to a residential aged care facility. The palliative care team will support you and your family in this process.

  • What do I need to bring?

    You only need to bring your toiletries, night wear and some comfortable clothes and shoes if you feel happier getting dressed each day. You can also bring along any personal items that will make you feel more at home, for example your own pillow or doona, something to read, music and photographs.

    If you are coming from home, please bring your medications and any recent test results or letters from your doctor.

  • What are the visiting hours?

    Visiting hours are 8am to 8pm.

    Please talk to the nurse-in-charge about visits outside of these hours.

    Children are welcome to visit under the supervision of a responsible adult.

  • Can family members stay overnight?

    Family members are welcome to stay overnight if the patient is very unwell, this needs to be discussed with the nurse in charge of the shift.

  • Will I be able to go home and die?

    If you want to die at home, the treating team in the inpatient unit will do its best to support your decision, in partnership with the community palliative homecare services. Should you or your family change your mind at any time, the community homecare service can arrange your transfer back to the inpatient unit.

  • How much palliative care cost?

    The cost for your inpatient stay is charged to your health fund. There may be some out of pocket expenses and your health fund may charge an annual excess fee. The administration staff will advise you of these costs and ask you to sign a financial consent form on admission.

    The cost for your homecare visits from the specialist palliative care nurse or doctor is covered by your health fund. Your health fund and your policy may incur an annual excess you will be informed of this and you will sign financial consent for service.

  • How does palliative homecare work?

    The inpatient unit works in partnership with the palliative homecare services. You will be referred to our specialist community palliative homecare service who will take over your care once you are discharged. This means that once you return home, they will be your primary contact. Their specialist nurses will visit you at home and they are available by phone 24-hours-a-day. If you need to return to the unit, the community palliative care service will make the necessary arrangements.

    You may be referred to another community homecare service if you live outside our service boundaries. Our homecare service will coordinate this referral in discussion with the inpatient nurse in charge.

  • Can I get to choose my palliative care doctor?

    The Palliative care unit has several doctors, who work from Monday to Friday. Palliative care doctors are on call on weekends and after hours on a rotating roster. All patients are cared for by the specialist who is on duty.

  • Can my pet come and visit?

    Pets are welcome to visit if they have a calm temperament and are not likely to be aggressive or excessively noisy, as this can distress other patients. Dogs need to have been washed within the past week and immunisation needs to be current. Dogs should be on a lead when in the communal areas.