Fatigue is a very common symptom in palliative care and it can be very frustrating and upsetting for patients, and for the people around them, as they become less able to carry out their usual activities. But, sometimes even small changes to daily routines can improve energy levels. Below are some resources to help boost energy levels.

Fatigue can affect all aspects of life and can cause:

  • extreme tiredness
  • feeling weak and heavy-limbed
  • difficulty sleeping or an altered sleep pattern
  • difficulty carrying out activities such as washing and dressing
  • difficulties with short-term memory
  • difficulty concentrating, which makes it hard to do activities such as reading, driving and socialising
  • difficulty making decisions
  • low mood
  • lack of motivation


Physical activity and diet 

Regular physical activity enhances energy levels and can improve quality of sleep at night. Patients might need encouragement to try physical activity if they are feeling tired or have low motivation. A physiotherapist can recommend appropriate exercises for individual patients.

Fatigue can have an emotional and mental impact, as well as physical. Complementary therapies, like massage or meditation, may help with feelings of stress and tension and help to increase energy levels.

Having a well-balanced diet and plenty of fluids can improve energy levels. It might be easier to have small frequent meals rather than a few large meals.