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The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life of patients with an active, progressive disease that has little or no prospect of a cure. With the growth and ageing of Australia's population, and an increase of chronic and generally incurable illnesses, the types of patient groups requiring palliative care has widened.

Palliative care is delivered in almost all settings where health care is provided, including neonatal units, paediatric services, acute hospitals, general practices, community settings (such as people's own homes) and residential aged care services. Specialist services operate from a variety of settings, including inpatient, hospice and community based services.

Overview of palliative care

  • 57,614 palliative care–related hospitalisations were reported for Australian hospitals in 2011–12.
  • Just over 2 in 5 patients who died as an admitted patient received palliative care.

Read more about Overview of palliative care.

Service provision

Resources and outcomes

Latest releases & updates

Increases over time: palliative care-related hospitalisations rose by 52% between 2002–03 and 2011–12. [Admitted patient care]

Palliative care-related hospitalisations rose by 52% between 2002–03 and 2011–12 - Horizontal line chart showing palliative care hospitalisations; years (2002-03 to 2011-12) on the x axis; hospitalisations ('000) (0 to 80) on the y axis.

Over the 5 years to 2012–13, the amount in benefits paid for all palliative medicine specialist services that were subsidised through the Medicare Benefits Schedule rose by an average of 20.4% each year.

Benchmarks: the Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration reported that two thirds of contributing providers met the benchmark of 90% of new patients commenced care within a day of being ready for care. [Outcomes]

Palliative care patients: Over half (58%) of the total number of palliative care patients who died in 2011–12 had a diagnosis of cancer. [media release]

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