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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 living with terminal or life-limiting illnesses. We provide palliative and supportive care throughout our hospitals and health facilities, in the home and specialise in complex symptom management at the Cabrini Prahran inpatient unit.

Palliative and Supportive care is an integral part of Cabrini’s Cancer Care and Chronic Disease Management programs. 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. 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)
  • General enquiries

  • Operating hours

    24 hours, 7 days a week

  • Referrals

    You need a referral from a GP to be seen by a Cabrini palliative care specialist and to receive any relevant Medicare rebate.

    Alternatively, if the matter is urgent, the Cabrini Malvern Emergency Department (ED) can help you 24 hours, 7 days a week. The ED team can refer you to the most appropriate specialist to cater for your individual needs.

    You will need to provide a referral to your patient to access our Palliative and Supportive Care services.

    Our doctors, surgeons and healthcare professionals are always available to help. Please call them directly if you would like advice, or to discuss a treatment plan in advance.

    If your patient is unwell the specialist of your choice can admit them for inpatient observation and treatment.

    Alternatively, if the matter is urgent, the Cabrini Malvern Emergency Department (ED) is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. The ED team can provide a referral to the most appropriate specialist to meet your patient’s needs.

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.

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.

“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

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Referring to our service
Palliative and Supportive Care Flyer

Our specialist Palliative Care Unit

Our inpatient unit in Prahran provides acute and intensive specialist palliative and end of life care 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 specialist centre offers 22 well equipped single rooms, each with their own ensuite. Our rooms surround a comfortable communal lounge room and tranquil garden courtyard. This is a short stay unit with the average length of stay between 10 to 12 days. 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.

Length of stay information for family/carers

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 can also 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
  • Art 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 provides nursing assessment and care to patients who require assistance with symptom management and end of life care in a 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.

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.

Allied health and pastoral care services

We can also offer allied health services for chronic disease and palliative home care patients who are unable to attend outpatient clinics. These are offered 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.

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 home care service.

cabrini prahran staff

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.