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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

  • 61,596 palliative care-related hospitalisations were reported for Australian hospitals in 2012–13. 42% of patients who died as an admitted patient received palliative care.

Read more about Overview of palliative care. Data is available on the range of palliative care services.

Service provision

Resources and outcomes

Latest releases & updates

Increases over time: palliative care-related hospitalisations rose by 52% between 2003–04 and 2012–13. [Admitted patient care]

Over the 5 years to 2013–14, Medicare Benefits Schedule payments for all palliative medicine specialist services rose by an average of 17% each year.

Benchmarks: the Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration reported that three quarters 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: 56% of the total number of palliative care patients who died in 2012–13 had a diagnosis of cancer.