Who will be treating you
The palliative care unit has several doctors, including a hospital registrar and junior medical officer who work full-time Monday to Friday. Palliative care specialists visit the unit at least once a week on a fixed roster and all patients are cared for by the specialist who is on duty.
What 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.
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 and family members are welcome to stay overnight if the patient is very unwell. Overnight stays need to be discussed with the nurse in charge of the shift.
How long you may be in the 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 are directly transferred from the acute wards for continuing pain or symptom management and discharge planning before going home, and other patients may go to the unit for end-of-life care.
Planning for returning home
The 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 (often a nursing home). The palliative care team will support you and your family in this process.
Cost and insurance
There is no cost for your stay at the Palliative care unit, however if you have private health insurance or a Department of Veterans Affairs card, it is appreciated if you provide those details as it assists the health service to provide better facilities, at no cost to yourself. Television and phone access require payment, whether you are a private or public patient.