Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy

Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists working in Palliative Care are concerned with quality of life and the promotion of health and well-being. We aim to achieve this through supporting function and participation. We work with children, adolescents and their families to make goals together and set priorities.  What is important and meaningful may change over time so goals and priorities can be flexible.

As part of a Palliative Care team we work together, not only with the child and family, but also with other therapists who may already have strong relationships with the child and family. Ultimately we can work together to:

  • minimise time spent in hospital
  • set up a supportive home environment
  • support participation in activities children and their families need to do and enjoy doing - eating, drinking, bathing, sleeping, playing, attending school, cooking, visits to the park/community, rest and relaxation
  • do things safely
  • look after your body
  • optimise comfort and pressure care
  • support  moving and being active
  • play and develop new skills
  • manage pain
  • manage respiratory symptoms.

Equipment may assist with achieving these goals. Equipment can help the child or adolescent to sit, stand, move and support the different positions adopted both day and night. This does not always mean the provision of specialised equipment. Quite often we can use what families have at home. Where this is not possible, Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists work with the child, adolescent and family to look at the best options to meet functional and participation needs. Funding and equipment availability can vary depending on a range of factors, so we aim to plan ahead for future needs.

As each child and family are different, an individual assessment is needed.  Local teams are best to work with families to determine equipment needs and funding options. The specialist paediatric palliative care teams are available to consult with local teams on a case by case basis.

Health providers may contact staff from each of the 3 services to discuss any concerns and identify opportunities to work together to benefit patients and their families.


Contact details

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead
Paediatric Palliative Care Service
Phone: (02) 9845 0000
Email: schn-chwppc@health.nsw.gov.au


Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick
Paediatric Palliative Care Service
Phone:  (02)  9382 1073
Email: cncpalliativecaresch@sesiahs.health.nsw.gov.au


John Hunter Children’s Hospital, Newcastle
Paediatric Palliative Care Service
Phone: (02) 4921 3700 or (02) 4921 3387
Email : HNELHD-PaedPallCare@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au