Palliative Care

For Patients and Visitors

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative Care is for patients who are living with a life-limiting illness, and their families. We work to prevent and relieve suffering, and provide support and education, to help people to live as fully as they can over the course of their illness. We carefully assess symptoms and other concerns – physical, psychological, spiritual, social and practical – and aim to look after the needs of the whole person.

At Northern Health, palliative care is provided by a dedicated team of health care professionals, either in our inpatient Palliative Care Unit, or by the Palliative Care Consultation Service at all other Northern Health locations.

Inpatient Palliative Care Unit
The Northern Health Palliative Care Unit is located at Heritage Epping Gardens at 25 Willandra Drive, Epping. Patients cared for in our ward might need help with:

  • Symptom assessment & management – such as pain, breathlessness, nausea, anxiety, and others;
  • Talking about the diagnosis, treatment options and future care planning;
  • Making plans for ongoing care outside of the hospital, such as accessing community services, equipment for home, carer training, and moving into residential care;
  • Care at the end of life; and
  • Other situations requiring inpatient specialist palliative care.

Palliative Care Consultation Service

The Northern Health Palliative Care Consultation Service has a team of experienced palliative care doctors and nurses. We work together with other teams to look after inpatients of the Northern Hospital Epping, Broadmeadows Hospital or Bundoora Centre, or who are attending a Northern Health specialist outpatient clinic . It is our job to help ensure that patients who need palliative care receive the support and treatment that they require.

Click here for our brochure.

‘When a loved one dies’ – Information and Support booklet.
This booklet contains information we hope you will find useful, such as practical matters that may need to be considered, and services where you can seek further support. It also contains information about some of the feelings and emotions that may be experienced when a person dies. Click here to download.

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Our Team

Head of Unit

Dr. Alison Giles

Medical Consultants

Dr. Jaclyn Yoong

Dr. Catherine Brimblecombe

Dr. Sandra Brown

Dr. Edwina Holbeach


Nurse Practitioner

Lisa Bethune

Clinical Nurse Consultants

James Watt

Marita Rees

Nurse Unit Manager, Palliative Care Unit

Julius Quiring

Contact us

Inpatient Palliative Care Unit:

Epping Gardens, 25 Willandra Drive, Epping 3076

Tel. 03 9132 9432

Palliative Care Consultation Service

The Northern Hospital, 185 Cooper Street, Epping 3076

Tel. 03 8405 8708

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can receive palliative care & when is it useful?

Some people wonder if palliative care is only for people with cancer, or for a very short time at the end of life. In fact, palliative care is available for anyone with difficulties related to a life-limiting illness, and can be helpful from early on for many patients and families, right through to the final days of life. Involving palliative care does not stop you from having other medical treatments that are helpful for your health and wellbeing – we work together with your other care providers.

Who will look after me in the Palliative Care Unit?

Northern Health employs the doctors, nurses, allied health and administrative staff of the Palliative Care Unit. The facility is run by Heritage Care, who provide things like meals and cleaning. You can talk to a member of our staff if you have any concerns about your care.

What facilities are provided at the Palliative Care Unit?

The Palliative Care Unit has 16 individual patient rooms, each with private ensuite, and access to a common lounge area, kitchenette and courtyard. Meals and snacks are provided for patients. The Epping Gardens facility includes a cafeteria, dining area, and quiet space. You may wish to bring personal items that will help you feel more at home in your room, although you advised not to bring valuable items as we are unable to offer secure storage. Limited visitor parking is available.

What are the visiting hours at the Palliative Care Unit?

Visiting hours are 11am – 8pm every day. Children are welcome to visit with supervision from a responsible adult. Please speak with the nurse in charge about visits outside of these hours, or if wishing to stay overnight with a very unwell patient.

How long will I stay in the Palliative Care Unit?

Like any hospital stay, this varies from person to person, depending on your health condition, symptoms, and care needs. Some patients stay for a short length of time, others for up to a week or two. A number of patients are able to be discharged from the unit, and may or may not require another admission in the future. Some people can return to their usual accommodation with or without additional support, some require transition into residential care, and others may remain in the unit for end-of-life care.

What is the cost for palliative care?

If you are a holder of a current Australian Medicare card, you will not be charged to receive treatment as a public patient in the Palliative Care Unit, or to be assessed as a public patient by the Palliative Care Consultation Service.  For private patients, Medicare ineligible patients, overseas visitors and further information, please see Patient Account Information.

How do I access palliative care at Northern Health?

The team looking after you at Northern Health may suggest involving palliative care in your treatment plan. You are also welcome to ask your doctor or nurse in the hospital about contacting our team if you think we can help with your care. We provide a range of services, including once-off assessments, linking people with community palliative care, ongoing review of patients in hospital, and arranging transfer to the Palliative Care Unit. We see patients in the hospital wards, emergency department or who are attending outpatient clinic appointments with other specialists. In some cases, patients can attend our outpatient Symptom Management Clinic for an appointment to see a palliative care specialist.

Sometimes patients who are being looked after outside of Northern Health need to come to our Palliative Care Unit. Other healthcare providers, such as hospitals and community palliative care services, can contact the Palliative Care Unit to make a referral for admission. Talk with your doctor or care provider for more information about your options.

How do I access palliative care at home?

Patients requiring palliative care outside the hospital can be supported by a specialist Community Palliative Care Service, together with your own General Practitioner (GP). The Palliative Care team at Northern Health is unable to visit you at home, but can help link you with your local service when you go home from our hospitals or attend a Northern Health outpatient appointment. The Palliative Care Victoria website can help you find the right service for your area.   Speak with your doctor or care provider for more information.

For Health Professionals

Service Overview

Northern Health offers an integrated palliative care service comprising a Palliative Care Consultation Service and a Palliative Care Inpatient Unit. We work in collaboration with hospital and community healthcare professionals, aiming to maximise quality of life, prevent and relieve suffering, and provide support for patients and their families who are living with life-limiting illness. We carefully assess symptoms and other concerns – physical, psychological, spiritual, social and practical – to develop an individual care plan that addresses the needs of the whole person.

Palliative Care Consultation Service

The Palliative Care Consultation Service (PCCS) commenced operations in 2002 to address a need for specialist palliative care services within The Northern Hospital. Our team includes a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse consultants and specialist medical consultants.

The PCCS provides a consultation-based service for inpatients at the Northern Hospital Epping, Northern Health Bundoora and Broadmeadows Hospital. This service extends to Northern Health Specialist Outpatient Clinics and the Northern Hospital Epping Emergency Department as well as our Symptom Management Clinic at the Bundoora Centre. . We can assist with development of care plans, in conjunction with patients, families and treating clinicians, to address a range of concerns, which may include physical, psychological, and spiritual symptom management, discharge and practical care planning, family support, future care planning and referral to a community palliative care service or inpatient palliative care unit if appropriate.

The PCCS maintains strong ties with local Community Palliative Care Services (primarily Banksia, Melbourne City Mission, Lower Hume and Mercy) and the Northern Health Inpatient Palliative Care Unit. We work closely with Northern Health Pastoral Care team and the community programs in our region to facilitate provision of bereavement support for families and carers.

Inpatient Palliative Care Unit

The Inpatient Palliative Care Unit (PCU), located within Heritage Epping Gardens at 25 Willandra Drive, Epping, is able to provide specialist care for up to 16 patients and their families at any one time, who are facing the difficulties associated with life-limiting illness. The PCU was formerly located at Broadmeadows Health Service.

We aim to prevent and relieve suffering by means of early and ongoing assessment of patient and care-giver needs, and to address the particular concerns present for each. Our multi-disciplinary team seeks to deliver a comprehensive suite of care, holistically addressing symptoms and concerns – physical, psychological, social, spiritual and practical – that affect the patients and families in our care.

The PCU actively provides learning opportunities for staff, facilitating and encouraging ongoing personal and professional development, and is committed to providing excellence in care through audit, quality improvement, education, training and research.

Admission criteria for PCU are available under referrals.


Referrals from within Northern Health: please see the Palliative Care intranet page

External provider referrals:


We are pleased to announce that we are now able to offer outpatient appointments to see a Palliative Care Specialist at our Palliative Care Symptom Management Clinic at the Bundoora Centre.  Please contact the Palliative Care Consultation Service during business hours (tel. 03 8405 8708) to discuss the possibility of referring a patient to the clinic, or for advice if you believe that our involvement would be beneficial for patients attending other appointments at Northern Health.  Unfortunately we are unable to offer a home visiting service or day hospice at this time.

Community Palliative Care

Providers wishing to link a patient or client to a Community Palliative Care team can refer directly to the relevant service. The Palliative Care Victoria website can help you to identify and contact your local community palliative care provider.

Palliative Care Unit

To refer your patient/client for admission to our Inpatient Palliative Care Unit, please forward a referral request using the appropriate Service Co-ordination Tool Template (core referral information +/- palliative care supplementary information) via facsimile to 03 8405 2805.

Kindly ensure that the client and/or their representative (where appropriate) consents to the referral, contact details for both client and referrer are up to date, and that the reasons for referral/expectations of admission are adequately described. To facilitate assessment of your referral and appropriate care planning, please consider including relevant supplementary information eg. pathology or radiology results, correspondence, treatment plans, or recent progress reports.

For urgent and after-hours referrals, or to inquire about an existing referral, please contact the nurse in charge of the Palliative Care Unit by telephone on 03 9132 9432.

PCU admission criteria & information

To be considered for admission, the patient/client must be aged 18 years and over, and have specialist palliative care needs that are not able to be satisfactorily managed in their current place of residence or care (or it is anticipated that this will soon be the case). Specialist palliative care needs may include symptom management, complex discharge planning or convalescence after intercurrent illness in the setting of an underlying life-limiting condition, end-of-life care, or other concerns based on individual need.

Whilst we aim to provide care in more ‘home-like’ surroundings, the PCU is an inpatient hospital ward, and discharge planning will be undertaken when clinically appropriate for patients who no longer require this level of management. The PCU is not located at the main hospital, and may not be the preferred site of care for patients whose treatment and/or investigation needs are better addressed in the acute setting. Please contact the PCU nurse in charge to discuss queries about the suitability of your referral if required.


Inpatient Palliative Care Unit:

Epping Gardens, 25 Willandra Drive, Epping 3076

Tel. 03 9132 9432

Palliative Care Consultation Service:

Based at The Northern Hospital Epping

Tel. 03 8405 8708 (business hours)