Palliative Care Services

What is palliative care?

Palliative care is the care of people who have a life-threatening disease that cannot be cured. It is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illnesses. This is achieved 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. 
Palliative care affirms life and regards dying as a normal process. It intends to neither hasten nor postpone death but rather offers support to help patients live as actively as possible and help families cope during the patient’s illness and in bereavement.
Palliative care is delivered in hospitals, hospices (such as Caritas Christi), homes and nursing homes. Patients can choose the location where they are most comfortable and which best fits their needs.

What is a hospice?

A hospice is a home-like environment with hospital-like facilities and resources where specifically trained staff care for people who have a life-threatening illness. A hospice may also be called a palliative care inpatient unit. Patients may be admitted to a hospice to have difficult symptoms brought under control and to improve their quality of life. Everything is done to make their stay as comfortable as possible and to welcome and support their family and friends.

Is palliative care available to everyone?

Palliative care services are committed to caring for everyone regardless of their age, ethnicity, culture, sexuality or belief system. Palliative care is available for all people facing any kind of life-threatening illness including cancer, organ failure and neurodegenerative disease, even if they are concurrently receiving other therapies intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy. 

What does palliative care cost?

Palliative care services in Australia are publically funded by commonwealth and state governments, and are therefore generally free for the patient. Most palliative care services also rely on donations and fundraising activities to supplement the government funds they receive. Hospitals and hospices may charge fees for inpatient admissions, but these are generally covered by Medicare or private health insurance. Palliative care services may charge for the hire of some equipment, whilst medications and supplies are purchased in the usual way.

About Us


Caritas Christi Hospice at Kew was the first inpatient palliative care facility in Victoria, founded in 1938 by the Sisters of Charity.

Our Services


Our Services

Research and Education


St Vincent’s Palliative Care Services continues to foster and enhance expertise and developments in the provision of palliative care by maintaining a focus on research and education.

Useful Links


Useful Links

Campus Information


Campus Information



St Vincent's Inpatient Services Building - Fitzroy Campus

Building A - Main Hospital

Destination A60

6th Floor

Princes Street Fitzroy  VIC  3065

Tel: (03) 9231 4697


To contact the Main Hospital please call:

Phone:  (03) 9231 2211