Palliative Care – The topic of conversation no one really wants to discuss.

One of the more common queries I have been recently receiving from not only clients, but also legal firms (on behalf of their clients), is around the topic of palliative care.  What is it? Who should I refer to? How is the best way to go about it in the most modest, graceful and compassionate way for all involved?

In essence, palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of the life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness. The main aim here is to provide relief of suffering by means of early identification and considered assessment; and administer the appropriate treatment for pain and other problems such as, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. Given my specialisation in the Aged Care space, quite often palliative care is required for those elderly loved ones approaching the end of life for which there is a requirement to ensure that this is done in an environment most suitable based on the level of care required, taking into account (where possible) the individual’s and family's wishes for where they want to spend their final days / months. 

Whilst there are a number of aged care facilities in the country that offer the specialist offering of palliative care, it shouldn’t be assumed that all aged care facilities are equipped to offer this service, and have specially trained staff with the necessary skills required to care for these patients.

Unfortunately in some cases, families are faced with a case of ‘pass the parcel’ when conflicting needs arise between the patient's/family’s wishes to stay at home; a high level of care that exceeds the capabilities of the facilities and needs to be administered in (often an over crowed hospital with a shortage in available beds); or an aged care facility not equipped to care for the patient. The end result can often mean an extremely stressed, confused and tired family trying to cope with the situation around them, whist desperately wanting to put on a brave and confident face for that loved one during their last chapter of life.

While some aged care facilities provide excellent care, the Productivity Commission reported that palliative and end-of-life care are poorly provided by a number of aged care facilities. As an Aged Care Specialist working closely with most of the major providers in this country, my observation is that these facilities, in the main, have well trained staff, including registered nurses, who are skilled in the delivery of end of life procedures.

Often, the resident (and the family) will have the choice to remain in the aged care facility or transfer to a hospital where the level of professional care should be at a higher level. Some aged care facilities even provide accommodation for close family members in order to provide them with the opportunity to spend valuable time with their loved one over this difficult period, creating a family environment with both blood relatives and facility carers.

At the end of the day, the role I play for my clients and their families doesn’t really change – my role is to take the worry off the family’s shoulders and ensure the right options and care are provided to the loved one.


Paul Geisel

Paul Geisel

Accredited Aged Care Specialist

Sub-Authorised Representative No 345693

Ph 07 3721 4403


Paul joined our team in 2010 with over 25 years experience in the Financial Services industry. Paul has been a Certified Financial Planner since 1995, and has the experience to deal with the ever changing landscape in our industry. Paul has a Diploma in Financial Planning, is an Accredited Aged Care Specialist and is a Commissioner of declarations.

Paul previously headed up a major Australian Bank Wealth Management Division for 10 years, and was also responsible for the setting up of a major Credit Union as a full Dealer Group having obtained an AFSL.

One of Paul's key professional achievements was being chosen as 1 of 100 Senior Managers worldwide whilst working at a major bank to complete an external Transformational Leadership Course.

Married for 40 years to his wife Peta, Paul is a proud dad to one daughter, and recently also became a grandad for the second time. He enjoys watching most sport at state or national level, having played A grade squash and rugby league, as well as being a keen water skier. Paul has a real passion for the country life and bushwalking, and was proud to have walked the Kokoda track in 2005.