If you have a life limiting illness

Find information on health care options, accessing support services and getting help with costs in NSW if you're diagnosed with a terminal or life limiting illness. 

Letting people and your work know

Being diagnosed with a life limiting illness can involve big changes to your day to day routine and relationships. 

After talking with your doctor about health care options, it can be helpful to get support to understand and process the diagnosis. 

Telling family and friends

The Australian Department of Health has put together a series of Dying to Talk guides to help make these conversations easier.

Telling your work

There is no legal requirement to tell your work about your diagnosis. However, if your ability to do your job is likely to change due to any extended sick leave or medical appointments, consider letting them know.

You can read more about sick and carer's leave at the Fair Work Ombudsman.


Getting emotional support

It may be helpful to get support when you’re diagnosed with a life limiting illness. Talk to your GP about accessing support services and specialist care groups, including:

  • counselling and psychology
  • social workers or online therapy
  • palliative care services

You may be able to get some of these services for no or at low cost. 

If you lose capacity to make decisions

Dealing with a life limiting illness can be difficult enough, but there are additional options available to help in managing your affairs.

This could be in case at some point in the future you don't have capacity to make important medical or legal decisions. Options you may want to consider include:


Get help with costs

Being diagnosed with a life limiting illness can involve loss of income, as well as paying more for medication, support, or changes to your home. 


Living costs

There are several financial options to consider that could help with living costs, including:


Electricity and equipment expenses

You may also be eligible for rebates for electricity and equipment expenses, including:

EnableNSW provides equipment and services to people in NSW with chronic health conditions or disability to help them with mobility, communication and self-care

Health care and medical costs

The costs of most palliative care services are covered by the Federal Department of Health, but there may be some costs associated with hospice and hospital care.

If your GP or doctor bulk bills, you don't have to pay for the appointment. You can learn more about:

Register as an organ donor

Organs and tissue donations are used to improve and lengthen the lives of people who receive them.  

Organ donations can be accepted from both people who are alive or people who have died. 

For information about becoming an organ donor, see the Australian Government’s DonateLife.

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