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.
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.
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:
- nominating an Enduring Guardian, who decides any medical, health and lifestyle matters on your behalf
- appointing an Enduring Power of Attorney, who makes legal and financial decisions in the event you're unable to do so
- creating an Advance Care Directive, which is an official recording of your wishes and values that need to be considered before medical treatment or health care decisions are made on your behalf
There are several financial options to consider that could help with living costs, including:
- early access to your superannuation
- government payments from Services Australia
- entitlements within an income protection or trauma insurance policy
- NSW Trustee & Guardian prepares wills, Powers of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship documents at no cost for people eligible for a full Centrelink age pension, including people receiving other government benefits, such as a Department of Veterans' Affairs pension, who would otherwise be eligible for a full Centrelink age pension
Electricity and equipment expenses
You may also be eligible for rebates for electricity and equipment expenses, including:
- Essential Medical Equipment Payment from Services Australia
- Life Support Energy Rebate from Service NSW - for retail customers or on supply (if you're billed on behalf of a care facility, retirement village or strata scheme)
- Medical Energy Rebate from Service NSW - for retail customers or on-supply (if you're billed on behalf of a care facility, retirement village or strata scheme)
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:
Medicare Safety Nets can also help to keep some of your medical costs down. Medicare will start paying more of your medical costs when you spend over a certain amount.
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.