This is the first national study to examine palliative health service use across multiple settings (hospital and community) and by patient characteristics (sociodemographic and diagnosis) for a population receiving specialist palliative care (SPC) and a population in need of palliative care. This retrospective study of health service use (specialist palliative care and other services) in the last year of life for people who have died from predictable deaths, using linked data, aims to increase our understanding of service provision for these populations. This information can be used to assist with the delivery of health services, including identifying where disparities may exist and for whom regarding provision of specialist palliative care and other services. 

For 135,617 people who died from predictable deaths in 2019-20:

  • almost 2 in 5 (38% or 52,105 people) received SPC in the last year of life – 4 in 5 (80%) as inpatients and 1 in 4 (23%) through MBS palliative specialist consultations
  • 4 in 5 (80% or 135,617 people) may have benefited from palliative care (based on conditions that most often generated a need for palliative care) in the last year of life. Of these, 2 in 5 (41% or 44,237) received SPC services.