The Palliative Care service at the Alfred is a multidisciplinary consultative service consisting of a palliative care consultancy nurse manager, a registrar, three part-time palliative medicine physicians, two clinical nurse specialists and a grief counsellor.
Clinical service overview
When to consider palliative care
Palliative care is an approach which improves the quality of life of patients and their families who are facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems - physical, psychosocial and spiritual.
When to refer to specialist palliative care
Only a small proportion of patients need to be seen by a palliative care medical specialist. Most can be managed by their general practitioner and their existing specialists – for example oncologist, general physicians and geriatricians. However, many patients may benefit from the nursing/social/psychological support provided by a community palliative care nursing service.
The Palliative Care Victoria website provides information about finding a local palliative care service by postcode. Those patients for whom advice from, or review by, a Palliative Medicine Physician may be useful include:
- Refractory symptom management including pain control, nausea/vomiting, constipation, delirium etc
- Assistance with end of life decision making (i.e. withdrawal of treatment, artificial hydration etc)
- Advanced care planning
- Management and referral to community services for patients and/or carers with profound existential distress, grief or bereavement issues
The psychological problems that palliative patients can experience include anxiety, depression, and existential distress. Existential distress refers to issues such as: “Why me? What is the purpose of my life? Did I achieve all that I could have? What does death mean? It's not fair?” The Palliative Care Team (including our nurses and grief counsellor) are trained to help navigate a way through these difficulties.
After hours advice
For urgent advice on a symptom control matter contact the Palliative Care Registrar via The Alfred switchboard.
Community services form a critical component of palliative care for patients in the community. These services include general practitioners and community Palliative Care teams such as
- Calvary Health Care
- Peninsula Home Hospice
- Eastern Palliative Care
- Mercy Palliative Care
- Melbourne City Mission
- South East Palliative Care
- We also liaise with Barwon Palliative Care and other regional services
Community services - both specialist palliative care teams and general visiting nurses (ie Bolton Clarke) also play a key part in providing palliative care for patients in the community. They are able to do home visits (including support in residential aged care facilities) and have close links with hospices.
Victoria has a wonderful community-wide set of services to cover all areas, regional and metropolitan. Patients may be referred directly to these services by a family member or their GP.
This service does not routinely provide treatment for the following:
- Patients who are already linked with another palliative care physician or clinic
- Patients who are not known to or undergoing treatment at Alfred Health. Consider referral to Calvary Health Care Bethlehem
- Patients with chronic, non-malignant pain are usually not suitable for review in the Palliative Care clinic. Please contact one of our consultants if you would like to discuss this
- Children under 18 years of age (generally not seen at The Alfred. If you are referring a patient under the age of 18, please visit the Victorian Paediatric Palliative Care Program.)
Refer your patient
Fax referral to us
We accept GP and specialist referrals to this service.
All referrals are triaged by the service according to clinical urgency. Patients requiring immediate assessment should be sent to the Emergency & Trauma Centre.
To refer your patient, complete and fax a referral to us. For urgent referrals, also contact the service Registrar to discuss the case.
To ensure appropriate and timely triage, include all demographic and clinical details as well as relevant investigation results.
If you are concerned about any delay of the appointment or if there is any deterioration in your patient’s condition, contact the service Registrar on call on (03) 9076 2000.
- Referral phone (03) 9076 6970
- Referral fax (03) 9076 6966
- After hours referral (03) 9076 2000 pager 4593
- Enquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org
|Palliative Care Clinic||The Alfred||55 Commercial Rd, Melbourne VIC 3004|
Palliative Care Victoria
Services, resources, fact sheets and forums in Victoria
Palliative Care Australia
Services, resources, fact sheets and forums
Southern metro palliative care consortium
An alliance of palliative care service providers that aims to support improvements in the integration and coordination of palliative care services