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Question checklist

Asking your doctor questions will help you make an informed choice. You may want to include some of the questions below in your own list.

Palliative care

  • Who can refer me to palliative care?
  • Who will be a part of my palliative care team?
  • Who will coordinate my care?
  • Where will I receive palliative care?
  • If I’m at home, what kind of help will be available?
  • Can I contact the palliative care team at any time? Who do I call after hours?
  • Will the palliative care team talk to my GP and cancer specialists about my care?
  • How long will I need palliative care for? What is my prognosis?
  • How can I get a second opinion about my need for palliative care?
  • Do I need to see a specialist palliative care service?
  • What if my condition unexpectedly improves?

Other treatment

  • Are there other treatments available that might cure the cancer?
  • If the cancer cannot be cured, what is the aim of the treatments?
  • Will I receive active treatment for the cancer if I have palliative care?
  • Are there any clinical trials I could join?
  • If I don’t have further treatment, what should I expect?
  • Are there any complementary therapies that might help?

Support services

  • Can my family or carers get respite care or other assistance?
  • Do I have to pay for any palliative care services?
  • What financial and practical assistance is available?
  • Can you help me talk to my family about what is happening?

Palliative Care Australia has developed more questions after discussions with people receiving palliative care and their families and friends. Visit palliativecare.org.au/asking-questions.

Featured resource

Understanding Palliative Care

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This information is reviewed by

This information was last reviewed August 2021 by the following expert content reviewers: Dr Cynthia Parr, Specialist in Palliative Care, HammondCare and Macquarie University Hospital, NSW; Dr Lisa Cuddeford, Clinical Lead, WA Paediatric Palliative Care Service, WA; Dr Laura Kirsten, Principal Clinical Psychologist, Nepean Cancer Care Centre, NSW; Penny Neller, Project Coordinator, National Palliative Care Projects, Australian Centre for Health Law Research, Queensland University of Technology, QLD; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; A/Prof Peter Poon, Director, Supportive and Palliative Care, Monash Health, and Adjunct Associate Professor, Monash University, VIC; Dr Kathy Pope, Radiation Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Kate Reed-Cox, Nurse Practitioner National Clinical Advisor, Palliative Care Australia; Juliane Samara, Nurse Practitioner, Clare Holland House – Specialist Palliative Aged Care, Calvary Public Hospital, ACT; Annabelle Solomon, Consumer; Silvia Stickel, Consumer; Kaitlyn Thorne, Manager, PalAssist, Cancer Council Queensland; Kim Vu, Consumer; Rosie Whitford, Social Worker – Grief, Bereavement and Community Palliative Care, Prince of Wales Hospital, NSW.