Palliative care outcomes

The Australian Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC) was established in 2005.  It is a framework for routine clinical assessments and point-of-care data collection to capture clinically meaningful information at significant periods in a patient’s disease progression. The PCOC aims to drive improvement through providing feedback to individual services and providing service-to-service benchmarking.

The information presented in this section refers to palliative care service data reported to PCOC for the 1 January to 31 December 2016 period. Three levels of PCOC data items are presented here: patient level, episode level and phase level care data. The items included in the PCOC data set:

  • provide clinicians with an approach to systematically assess individual patient experiences
  • define a common clinical language to allow palliative care providers to communicate with each other
  • facilitate the routine collection of nationally consistent palliative care data for the purpose of reporting and benchmarking to drive quality improvement.

As participation in PCOC is voluntary, the data presented in this section capture a subset of all palliative care services delivered in Australia in 2016. For further information about PCOC, see Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration website.

Data downloads

Palliative care outcomes tables (444KB XLS)

Palliative care outcomes section (191KB)

The information in this section was last updated in October 2017.

Key points

  • In 2016, 36,586 patients accessed palliative care services from 124 PCOC participating palliative care providers—an increase of 0.7% from 2015.
  • There were 48,901 episodes of care, of which just over half (54.8%) were inpatient episodes. There was an average of 1.3 episodes per patient.
  • Almost 4 in 5 episodes (78.2%) were characterised by a cancer diagnosis.
  • The median age for all patients reported to the PCOC during this period was 74.
  • A high proportion (95.0%) of episodes met the benchmark relating to the timeliness of admission to palliative care, where at least 90% of patients had their episode start on the day of, or the day after, the date they required palliative care (Benchmark 1).
  • Almost 4 in 10 (38.4%) phases met Benchmark 3.6, where at least 60% of patients with moderate/severe distress from fatigue at phase start are reduced to absent/mild distress from fatigue at phase end.

Inpatient and community care

In 2016, about 36,600 patients accessed palliative care from 124 palliative care services, an increase of 0.7% from 2015. In 2016, there were about 48,900 episodes of care reported to the PCOC, of which just over half (54.8%) were inpatient episodes. There was an average of 1.3 episodes per patient.

The information provided on total number of days for episodes of care is categorised by 2 broad types of care— inpatient and community care. It should be noted that the number of patients reported to the PCOC refers to patients who may receive services both within the inpatient and community settings. Hence, the same patient can have an inpatient episode and then subsequent community episodes and therefore may be counted for both service settings.


PCOC 2012. PCOC Version 3.0 Dataset: data dictionary and technical guidelines Wollongong: University of Wollongong. Viewed 30 May 2017.