Palliative care

‘Palliative care’ is care for a person of any age who has a life-limiting illness.

Palliative care involves supporting and helping the person to live as comfortably and fully as possible. 

  • A ‘life-limiting illness’ is one that cannot be cured and may at some time result in the person dying (whether that is years, months, weeks or days away). 
  • Palliative care involves providing assistance at all stages of the life-limiting illness.

Palliative care is provided in the community, in hospices and in hospitals.

  • It can be provided by all health care professionals, including GPs and district nurses – supported where necessary by specialist palliative care services. 
  • Hospices are the main providers of specialist palliative care services for people living in the community.

Find out more from the Ministry

Palliative Care in New Zealand

A team has been established within the Ministry of Health to support the sector to deliver good palliative care and to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of palliative care services.

A palliative care work plan is part of the Cancer Control Programme. This programme focuses on an integrated national programme with activities across the sector, from the Ministry of Health to district health boards, regional networks and non-governmental organisations.

The Ministry of Health palliative care team is responsible for coordinating the palliative care work plan and leading national palliative care service development and improvement work.

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