The 2008 National Palliative Care Survey is the fourth in a series of surveys aimed at measuring performance against the four national palliative care performance indicators. These high-level performance indicators were agreed by the Palliative Care Intergovernmental Forum in 2003 and are designed to assist in the evaluation of progress against the objectives of the National Palliative Care Strategy, in relation to the planning and delivery of palliative care services.
The response rate for agencies was 66%, so the data should be interpreted with caution.
Of the 227 agencies that responded to the survey, 147 agencies reported delivering care to clients mostly in the community setting and 52 agencies reported that they provided care mostly in an inpatient setting (admitted patients in hospital). The remaining 28 agencies reported that similar proportions of time were spent on delivering services in community and inpatient settings.
Information collected for the first time showed that most agencies are relatively small with 61% employing 10 staff or fewer, and 45% providing care for 100 or fewer patients through the year.
Performance against the national palliative care performance indicators in 2008 differed from that found in the previous survey, as detailed in the following table. For example, there was a drop in the proportion of regions reporting that they met the requirements of performance indicator 1 (strategic plans), down from 63% in 2007 to 45% in 2008.
Summary of results for nationally agreed palliative care performance indicators 2007 and 2008
||Proportion of regions/agencies meeting performance indicator (per cent)
|Performance indicator 1 — strategic plans: the proportion of administrative health regions that have a written plan for palliative care that incorporates palliative care elements
|Performance indicator 2 — standards: the proportion of palliative care agencies that routinely undertake or undergo formal assessment against the current Palliative Care Australia standards
|Performance indicator 3 — feedback: the proportion of palliative care agencies that actively collect feedback from clients and staff (within the workforce) relating to services and service delivery
|Performance indicator 4 — partnerships: the proportion of palliative care agencies that have formal working partnerships with other service providers or organisations
A greater proportion of agencies delivering care mostly in a community setting collected feedback from clients and staff (65%), compared with agencies delivering care mostly in inpatient setting (50%) and agencies delivering a similar amount of care in both settings (65%).
Agencies delivering a similar amount of care in both settings more commonly assessed themselves against the Palliative Care Australia (PCA) standards (89%) compared to those agencies delivering care mostly in a community setting (75%) and those delivering care mostly in an inpatient setting (64%).