Sources of practical support

People with cancer who are less able to manage at home, may be able to access help. Available services will depend on location and individual circumstances. For information about services in your area, talk to your general practitioner, community nurse or call the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.

Possible sources of help in the home for people with cancer include:

  • General practitioner may be responsible for ongoing care and can help arrange other support services at home.
  • Social worker can help find the right people to help at home.
  • Community/district nurse can provide help at home according to individual needs, such as bathing, changing dressings, giving medications and providing support.
  • Care nurse/care coordinator may be able to provide support and care at home.
  • Occupational therapist can provide practical advice and aids, such as walking frames, wheelchairs, shower chairs, or can recommend minor changes that make it easier to get around at home.
  • Physiotherapist can help with mobility and provide pain relief and massage. Some physiotherapists specialise in exercises for people with cancer or lymphoedema. 
  • Palliative care team can help with control of pain and other symptoms and provide support for patients and carers.
  • Home care is a range of public and private services that are available for eligible people to help with things like cleaning, shopping, cooking, personal care and respite care for carers.
  • Private nursing agencies provide a 24-hour service in some areas to cover nursing care and practical support.
  • Meals-on-wheels deliver meals to people who cannot leave their homes (requires a referral from a health professional).
  • Volunteer carers can make home visits to chat or help with phone calls or letter writing, or just to be there.
  • Church/religious groups may provide support for their members with things like shopping.