What is end of life care?
Sometimes treatment for cancer stops working and a cure or remission is no longer possible. It is not easy to think about the reality of what is involved at the end of life. Dealing with the emotional, physical, practical, legal and financial impact can be difficult. These services are here to assist you and your family and friends.
Read more about facing end of life
As you approach the end of life you it is likely that you will receive palliative care.
Palliative care helps people with advanced cancer to live as fully and as comfortably as possible. The main goal is to help you maintain your quality of life by identifying and dealing with your physical, practical, emotional, cultural, social and spiritual needs. Whatever stage you’re at, your palliative care team will adjust your care to meet your needs.
Palliative care also offers support to families and carers.
Questions to ask about this service
When looking at a service it is important to ask questions about how the service works before you decide to engage with them. Below is a list of questions you might like to ask when enquiring about a service.
Am I eligible?
Some services have specific criteria that a person must meet before they are able to use a service, for example location, means testing or a specific cancer type. It is important to know if you are eligible to access a service right from the start.
Do I need a referral?
Some services require a referral from your specialist, GP or a social worker. This helps to make sure that the right patients are being connected with the right services. It’s a good idea to ask if a referral is needed and if so, exactly what type of referral the service requires.
How much will this cost me?
Some services are free, and some come at a cost. At a time when people should be focused on their treatment and recovery, the cost of cancer can be a source of stress and worry for many. It’s a good idea to ask about the fees attached to a service and if there are any subsidies or benefits you might be eligible for before committing to the service. It’s important to know that you are within your rights to ask about the cost of a service or treatment before agreeing to take part. For more information you can visit cancer and your finances.
Is there a wait time?
Sometimes demand for a service is high which can cause wait times. You might find it helpful to ask if there are any wait times for the services you are looking at, especially if you require support as soon as possible.
What services do you offer?
Some organisations provide a range of services for people affected by cancer, their family, friends and carers. It is a good idea to ask about exactly what services are available to you.
Will I be treated as an inpatient or an outpatient?
Depending on the type of treatment or care you are receiving you may be seen as an inpatient or an outpatient. You are considered an inpatient if you have been admitted to the hospital for treatment. Alternatively, you are considered an outpatient when you receive treatment at a hospital, but without being admitted. It’s important to know if you are going to be treated as an inpatient or an outpatient as this can impact the cost of treatment, and will help you to understand the amount of time you might need to spend at the hospital.
The importance of a will
A will is a legal document that records who you would like to receive your assets (estate) after you die. A will may also record your wishes regarding guardianship of your children.
When a person dies without a will, it can make matters very complicated for the family.
Many people want to make a will or update the one they have as their circumstances change. Making a will is not difficult but it needs to be prepared and written in the right way to be legally valid. It is best to ask a lawyer to help you or contact State Trustees at statetrustees.com.au or phone 1300 138 672.
Managing your digital legacy
If you use social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you will need to think about what happens to your accounts after your death.
Each social media platform has different rules for deactivating accounts, while some allow your account to be turned into a memorial page. It is a good idea to leave a list of all your accounts, passwords and instructions with someone you trust, so they can manage your ongoing digital presence according to your wishes.
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