Palliative Care Services

Care for people with a life-limiting illness is often provided by a general practitioner and other primary health care providers. All professionals caring for people with a life-limiting illness need to assess and identify palliative and supportive care issues in initial treatment planning and throughout the progress of the disease.

Specialist palliative care teams work in a consultative role with general practitioners and other health care providers when these needs cannot be met by primary care teams, across a range of health care services, from hospitals, hospice care, or in the community such as home or residential care.


A person is eligible for referral to specialist palliative care services if:

  • they have a progressive, life limiting illness
  • they or their decision maker, is aware of, understands and has agreed to a palliative care referral
  • the primary goals of patient care are to control symptoms, maximise function, maintain quality of life and provide comfort.

If a person does not meet these three eligibility criteria outlined above, the referrer should contact the palliative care service to discuss the referral with a member of the specialist palliative care team.


Referrals can be made by medical practitioners, other health professionals and the individual or family members/carer.

Referrals for people in the community (that is, home or residential care), or people requiring an outpatient clinic appointment, can be made by faxing a completed Palliative Care Referral form (PDF 584KB) to your local palliative care service. 

This form is available as a writable PDF - Palliative Care Referral form (PDF 584KB).

New referrals will be processed during office hours Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 4.00 pm.

Patients in an acute setting/hospital are referred using local inpatient procedures.

Palliative Care Navigation Pilot program

A new Palliative Care Navigation Pilot program will be launched in South Australia through a $7.5 million grant from the Commonwealth Government.

The pilot program will connect terminally ill patients with local palliative care and related services via palliative care navigators, an information line, website, improved volunteer coordination and access to bereavement supports.

The goal is to increase access to palliative care in the community by giving patients and their families better information about available services, assisting with smoother transition between types of care, and providing better support into end-of-life care pathways.

The program will also create better links between primary health networks, specialist palliative care services, and relevant community-based services.

Further updates will be provided as the pilot progresses.