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What Is The Difference Between Palliative Care And End Of Life Care?


Palliative care vs. end-of-life care — what is the difference, and how do I know which option is the best fit for my loved one?


When it comes to care options available to improve a person’s comfort level and quality of life, it can be hard to know which option is best suited for your unique situation. With both terms often used interchangeably, it is very common for families to become confused when trying to decide which option will best suit their specific needs.

With this in mind, we have created this helpful guide to help explain the difference between the two options, clear up some of the most common misconceptions of palliative care, and provide further insight into choosing the best path forward for you and your loved one.

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is an approach used to provide compassionate medical care to anyone living with a life-limiting health condition. The goal of palliative care is to provide comfort and support, not to attempt to cure or improve the individuals health circumstances.

Commonly associated with seniors’ care, palliative care can be offered to people of any age. There are often common scenarios where palliative care is most appropriate such as those diagnosed with certain illnesses and diseases.

It is important to understand that you can receive palliative care at any stage of your illness — not just as you near the end of your life. A person can receive palliative care for years before they pass, helping them to make the most of the time they have left with their family and friends.

Holistic palliative care is designed to offer physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual support as the patient shifts into comfort care options designed to improve their overall quality of life. Examples of palliative care interventions used to achieve this goal include:

  • Increasing a focus on pain management
  • Adjusting medications to limit discomfort
  • Providing emotional, spiritual, and psychological support
  • Offering support with activities of daily living like eating, cleaning, and getting dressed
  • Counselling your family and loved ones

Depending on your specific needs, palliative services can be provided in various settings ranging from organised home care to palliative care in aged care facilities.

What is end-of-life care?

End-of-life care, which is an essential component of palliative care, is care that is specifically tailored to offer support as a person passes on.

In theory, end-of-life care should be integrated into the last year of a person’s life. Due to a variety of factors and ever-changing timelines, it is possible for an individual to only receive end-of-life care during the last weeks, days, or even hours of their life.

Depending on the circumstances, end-of-life care can look very different for each individual. Ranging from financial planning and will writing to increased comfort care and spiritual aid, end-of-life care can provide just as much comfort and support to the family and friends as it does for the person receiving the care.

It is important to note that holistic end-of-life care can be organised and discussed in advance — before an individual requires the additional support. By meeting with your primary care provider and discussing your options, you and your loved ones can better prepare and plan when it comes time to adjust your care goals.

The difference between palliative care and end-of-life care in Australia

When it comes to palliative care vs. end-of-life care, it turns out to be less about their differences and more about the timeline of care provided.

Palliative care, a form of support that encompasses end-of-life care, is used to better tailor your personalised treatment plan to improve one’s quality of life and comfort level. Palliative care is offered to patients of all ages with life-limiting health conditions.

End-of-life care is recognised as the medical and spiritual care provided to a patient and their family during the last year, months, weeks, days, or hours of their life. The goal of this care is to provide enhanced comfort while also maximising the time that friends and family get to spend with their loved ones before they pass.

About LDK Seniors’ Living

At LDK Seniors’ Living, we are committed to providing our residents with high-quality care across aged care, seniors living, and palliative care in Canberra, Sydney, and the surrounding areas. For those considering seniors living options with on-site care services, LDK offers you the support you need when you want it.

Our dedicated and compassionate staff are committed to delivering genuine and compassionate care. From retirement through to aged care living, our villages are designed to provide you the support you need in the way you want at all stages of your life. With Aspire Aged Care within Greenway Views, residents and their families care rest assured knowing that we offer low to high care through to palliative and end-of-life care services. All of this is delivered in a tailored fashion in consultation with you and your loved one to ensure quality care at all stages of your loved ones ageing journey.

To learn more about our living options through to end-of-life care, our staff are here to help.

For more information about the availabilities in our seniors living villages, please feel free to contact us through our online inquiry form or give us a call at 1300 535 000. We would love to help you get connected to the support and care you need to live every day to the fullest!