Palliative Care Australia and national palliative care initiatives
Palliative Care Australia (PCA) is the national peak body for palliative care in Australia, with a stated mission to “influence, foster and promote the delivery of quality palliative care for all.”
The PCA website has a range of information for people living with a life-limiting illness, carers and health professionals.
The Australian Government Department of Health (DoH) website includes details about the National Palliative Care Strategy and nationally funded palliative care projects, including those such as CareSearch, the Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC) and others outlined in this section of our website.
The DoH website also includes references to the Greater Choice for Palliative Care at Home measure announced in the 2017 federal budget. Funding and administration will be administered through Primary Health Networks (PHNs).
The Federal Department of Health (DoH) website outlines that the primary aim of the Greater Choice for At Home Palliative Care measure announced in the 2017 federal budget is to “provide funding to improve coordination and integration of end-of-life care across primary, secondary, tertiary and community health service to support at home palliative care”.
Funding will be administered through Primary Health Networks (PHNs). At the time of writing, precise details of the rollout of this measure had not been released.
Beginning in 2015, the Australian Government Department of Health (DoH) has funded a Better Palliative Care in Aged Care measure to provide specialist palliative care and advance care planning advisory services nationally to aged care providers and general practitioners providing health care for recipients of aged care services.
CareSearch is an evidence palliative care based website developed at Palliative and Supportive Services, Flinders University and funded by the Australian Government. CareSearch includes information for health professionals, aged and other community services workers, academics, researchers and for people with a life limiting illness and their carers and family.
CareSearch includes information for:
- People with a life limiting illness and their carers, family and friends
- General Practitioners (GPs)
- Residential Aged Care staff
- The PalliAGED website (developed by CareSearch) is an online evidence-based guidance and knowledge resource for palliative care in aged care. It incorporates and updates the evidence-based information previously contained in the Guidelines for a Palliative Approach in Residential Aged Care (APRAC) and the Guidelines for a Palliative Approach for Aged Care in the Community Setting (COMPAC) and includes access details for smartphone applications for nurses and GPs, palliAGEDnurse and palliAGEDgp.
- Allied Health
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Care
Web: CareSearch home page
End of Life Essentials, a project of Flinders University, provides e-learning and resources for doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to improve the quality and safety of end of life care in hospitals.
The content of End of Life Essentials has been informed by the National Consensus Statement ‘Essential elements for safe and high-quality end-of-life care’ of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care and is relevant to implementation of the end of life care components of the Commission’s National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards.
The Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC) is a national program run by the Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI) of the University of Wollongong. PCOC utilises standardised clinical assessment tools to measure and benchmark outcomes in palliative care. Participation in PCOC is voluntary and can assist palliative care service providers to improve practice. This PCOC website outlines how this is achieved through an outcome improvement framework which is designed to:
- provide clinicians with the tools to systematically assess individual patient experiences using validated clinical assessment tools,
- define a common clinical language between palliative care providers to support assessment and care planning,
- facilitate the routine collection of national palliative care data to drive quality improvement through reporting and benchmarking,
- provide regular patient outcomes reports and workshops to facilitate service-to-service benchmarking, and
- support research using the PCOC longitudinal database.
The PCOC data set includes the clinical assessment tools: Palliative Care Phase, Palliative Care Problem Severity Score (PCPSS), Symptom Assessment Scale (SAS), Australia-modified Karnofsky Performance Status (AKPS) Scale and Resource Utilisation Groups – Activities of Daily Living (RUG-ADL).
Participation in PCOC can also provide evidence for organisations and palliative care services to meet core actions in the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards.
The Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA) is a nationally funded program organised through the Queensland University of Technology and run in Victoria by the Centre for Palliative Care.
Victorian PEPA aims to improve the accessibility of quality palliative care in the community by increasing the skills and confidence of health professionals who are caring for people with serious illness, and their families.
PEPA activities include:
- Workshops on the palliative approach
- Supervised clinical placements
- Post-placement support activities
PCC4U improves the skills of the health workforce by promoting the integration of palliative care training within health training courses, including undergraduate curricula. The project is led by Queensland University of Technology, with Flinders University and Curtin University of Technology.
QuoCCA aims to improve the quality of palliative care provided to children through research, education and evaluation activities in each state and territory of Australia. The project is led by Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service (CHQ HHS) through the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.
PaCCSC is a national research network run by the Flinders University School of Medicine. PaCCSC aims to generate research evidence to support the use of medicines and other interventions at the end of life; and build capacity within the health workforce in the conduct of clinical research.
The AIHW’s palliative care data includes a range of national and state/territory statistics.
HammondCare in NSW has been funded to develop a nationally relevant palliative care and advance care planning in general practice training package for practice nurses.
With funding that ceased in 2016, Carers Australia, in collaboration with Palliative Care Australia (PCA) were funded to deliver training to increase the knowledge and skills of counsellors and other health professionals regarding carers of people with a life-limiting illness.