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21st May 2020

We hear many myths about palliative care in the community. Some of those linger from historical practice, but many are just misconceptions about something people have not personally experienced.

So – let’s air some of those common myths and bust them by providing the facts. These will all be covered in our National Palliative Care Week 2020 myth-busting campaign on our Facebook page.

You can play a part in dispelling these myths by sharing the facts with your family, friends and colleagues.

MYTH – Palliative Care only happens in hospital.

FACT – Palliative care can be provided to you in a hospice, in your home, in a residential aged care facility and, yes, in a hospital. An increasing number of people are choosing to receive palliative care services in their own home.


MYTH – Palliative Care is just for when you have cancer.

FACT – Palliative care can help you with ANY terminal condition or illness. That includes chronic illnesses such as kidney, liver, lung and heart disease, dementia, neurological conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Motor Neurone disease, as well as cancer.


MYTH – Palliative Care only happens on last few days of life.

FACT – Palliative care is available at any stage of a serious condition or illness. Whether you are early in your diagnosis or your illness is advanced, palliative care can provide specialised care to manage pain and other symptoms. Palliative care can also be offered alongside other medical treatments and interventions. It’s all about addressing your and your family’s needs, so you can live and die well.


MYTH – Palliative Care is only for adults.

FACT – Children receive palliative care too. Called paediatric palliative care, it provides care alongside other medical treatments and interventions for children with terminal conditions or illnesses. The aim is to provide the best quality of life by supporting the physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of the child and their family and friends.


MYTH – Palliative Care means you have to depend on others for your care.

FACT – The principal goal of palliative care is actually the opposite of dependency. It aims to support you to maintain as much independence and quality of life as possible. So you can decide together what aspects are important to allow you to live life to the fullest until death.


MYTH – Palliative Care means my doctor has given up hope.

FACT – Palliative care focuses on the quality of your life by assisting you to live as well as possible until you die. It involves physical, emotional, spiritual and social support for you and your family. Even in situations where there may no longer be hope for a cure, palliative care helps shift the focus to new goals that concentrate on living each moment as fully as possible.


MYTH – Palliative Care is just about pain management.

FACT – Palliative care treats many symptoms, challenges and issues caused by chronic illness that may affect your quality of life… including pain. It’s important to know that palliative care is not just physical care. It includes emotional, social and spiritual support for you, as well as your family.


MYTH – Palliative Care prolongs life.

FACT – Palliative care neither prolongs nor shortens life. By helping you and your family physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally, palliative care can assist you to live as actively as possible until death.


MYTH – Once I start with palliative care, I will stop seeing my other doctors.

FACT – Palliative care providers can work alongside your doctors and other health care providers to help manage your symptoms and provide support. At any stage of a chronic condition or terminal illness, palliative care providers will help to address the needs of you and your family to enhance the quality of your life.