Palliative care FAQs

At the ONJ Centre we care for people touched by cancer every day and hear many questions. Here are some of the more frequently asked questions. If you do not find the answer you need, we recommend you speak to your doctor.

Families are welcome to ring at any time, but staff may not always be able to answer if they are busy looking after patients. The best time to ring is between 9am to 3pm when a ward clerk is available.

It works best if you or your family chooses one spokesperson, who can then update the rest of your friends and family on your progress.

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.

The unit partners with a number of specialist community palliative care services 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 can help facilitate this.

The specialist community palliative care services will help you with pain and symptom management, family support and counselling.

People are usually visited weekly or fortnightly, however if symptoms are unstable or the person is deteriorating then they will be visited more frequently depending on the persons individual need. If anything changes and you need them, you are able to ring them on their 24 hour contact number.  People who are stable over time may be discharged from the service.

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.

Because Austin Health is a public hospital, it allocates single rooms to patients based on their individual needs rather than their insurance status.

Television and phone access require payment, whether you are a private or public patient. 

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


Palliative Care Unit

+61 3 9496 2542

Palliative Care Consultancy Service

+61 3 9496 9947

Via switch

+61 3 9496 5000 - pager 1300


Do you need to be referred for palliative care?

You can be referred to the Palliative Care Unit or the Palliative Care Consultative Service

learn more

Can't find what you need?

At the ONJ Centre in Melbourne, we have an information lounge on Level 3 with an extensive range or resources to help those living with cancer and undergoing treatment. For more information resources online, we recommend you explore trusted, credible websites. See our recommended website guide.