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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.


62,200 hospitalisations were palliative care related in 2013-14

62,200 hospitalisations

were palliative care-related in 2013–14, an 11% increase from
2009–10.


44% of patients who died as an admitted patient received palliative care

44% of patients who died

as an admitted patient received palliative care.


4% of residential aged care residents were assessed as requiring palliative care

4% of residential aged care residents

were assessed as requiring palliative care.


1 in 1000 GP encounters were palliative care-related

1 in 1,000 GP encounters

were palliative care-related (BEACH data).


one in six public acute hospitals  had a hospice care unit

1 in 6 public acute hospitals

had a hospice care unit.


79% increase in Medicare benefits paid on palliative medicine specialist services over 5 years

79% increase in Medicare benefits

paid on palliative medicine specialist services from 2010–11 to 2014–15.


59,000 prescriptions that were palliative care-related

59,000 prescriptions

that were palliative care-related were provided to almost 29,800 patients.


7 in 1000 employed medical specialists are palliative care physicians and 1 in very 100 employed nurses

7 in every 1,000 employed medical specialists

are specialist palliative medicine physicians and 1 in every 90 employed nurses are palliative care nurses.


90 percent of new patients commenced palliative care within a day of being ready for care

74% of Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration services

met Benchmark 1, where 90% of patient episodes commenced palliative care within a day of being ready for care (Palliative Care Outcomes).