Glossary of Terms

Advance care planning

Advance care planning is a “process of reflection, discussion and communication that enables a person to plan for their future medical treatment and other care, for a time when they are not competent to make, or communicate, decisions for themselves” (Royal Australian College of General Practitioners). A key step in advance care planning is to establish how the patient would like decisions to be made about their care if they were too unwell to speak for themselves.


General Practice Nurse

A general practice nurse is a registered nurse or an enrolled nurse who is employed by, or whose services are otherwise retained by, a general practice. (APNA)

Palliative care

Palliative care can be defined as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual” (World Health Organisation).

Supportive care

Supportive care is care that eases the symptoms of a disease or the side effects of treatment for a disease. Supportive care does not cure the disease. It is aimed at improving quality of life and it addresses the psychological, social and spiritual needs of patients and their carers (Fitch, 2008).


APNA. About General Practice Nursing. Available at https://www.apna.asn.au/profession/what-is-primary-health-care-nursing

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Advance Care Planning. Available at: https://www.racgp.org.au/running-a-practice/practice-resources/practice-tools/advance-care-planning

World Health Organisation. 2016. Definition of Palliative Care. Available at: https://www.who.int/health-topics/palliative-care

Fitch MI. 2008. Supportive care framework. Can Oncol Nurs J. 2008; 18(1):6-24.


Page last updated 20 July 2022