Palliative care services are meeting most national performance indicators

A report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that overall, palliative care services in Australia are generally meeting four national 'high-level' performance indicators of the National Palliative Care Strategy.

The report, National palliative care performance indicators: report on the National Palliative Care Performance Indicator Data Collection 2005, presents the findings of the first national collection of performance indicator data for Australia's palliative care sector, and shows the extent to which key areas of the national strategy have been implemented.

Ms Clara Jellie of the Institute's National Data Development and Standards Unit said the National Palliative Care Strategy represents the commitment of governments, service providers and community organisations, to the development and implementation of policies, strategies and services across Australia for the care of people with life-limiting illnesses.

The report found that, while most performance indicators are being met, there is room for improvement in the proportion of services that routinely undertake formal assessment against standards developed by Palliative Care Australia. These standards cover issues such as respect for the wishes of patients and their families, the need for care coordination and the provision of bereavement care.

'The majority of agencies reported that they do not formally monitor and evaluate their service against these standards; however, this may be because these agencies are assessing their service on an informal basis or are using other standards,' Ms Jellie said.

No major differences were obvious across different palliative care settings. For example, between services that mainly deliver care in community settings, those that mainly deliver care in inpatient settings, and those that provide a similar amount of services in both settings.

The main findings of the report were:

  • The proportion of administrative health regions that have a strategic plan for palliative care is 66%.
  • The proportion of palliative care agencies that actively collect feedback from patients, clients and staff relating to service delivery is 71%.
  • The proportion of palliative care agencies that have formal working partnerships with other healthcare service providers is 96%.
  • The proportion of palliative care agencies that routinely undertake assessment against industry-agreed standards is 34%.

24 August 2006

Further information: Ms Clara Jellie, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1250 or mob. 0407 915 851

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel 61 2 6244 1032.