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The National Standards


The National Palliative Care Standards

The first edition of the National Palliative Care Standards was developed by Palliative Care Australia (PCA, then the Australian Association for Hospice and Palliative Care) in 1994 in collaboration with the palliative care community. The original National Palliative Care Standards represented a set of philosophical standards, reflecting the need at the time to clearly articulate and promote a vision for compassionate and appropriate end-of-life care. The National Palliative Care Standards are to be revisited to ensure that they keep pace with the development of palliative care services across Australia and with other health service development work that has occurred.

Update on National Palliative Care Standards version 5

Revision of the National Palliative Care Standards (4th ed.) is almost complete, and Palliative Care Australia is looking forward to the release of version 5 of the Standards in February 2018. PCA acknowledges the invaluable and generous contributions of all of those who have provided expert feedback through consultation and ongoing service involvement. The new version of the Standards comprises six standards that are care focussed, and three standards that are governance focussed. It is an exciting time for the palliative care community, and a huge opportunity to recalibrate how we can work together to promote high quality services across the sector.

PCA has been working closely with the ACSQHC, recognising the new standards for delivering comprehensive care at the end of life. To assist services to identify these intersections and avoid duplication of effort, Palliative Care Australia have undertaken internal mapping of the National Palliative Care Standards against standards of the agencies listed below :

  • The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards (Version 2).
  • The ACSQHC National Consensus Statement: Essential Elements for Safe and High-Quality End-of-Life Care.
  • The ACSQHC National Consensus Statement: Essential Elements for Safe and High-Quality Paediatric End-of-Life Care
  • The Accreditation Standards, as identified in the Quality of Care Principles 2014 and administered by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA).
  • The previous version of Palliative Care Australia’s Standards for Providing Quality Palliative Care for all Australians (2005).

Palliative Care Australia will continue to work with key stakeholders as newer versions of any relevant standards are released.

The National Palliative Care Standards and NSAP

PCA has begun the second phase of this work which involves updating the tools and resources that sit alongside the National Palliative Care Standards. The National Standards Assessment Program (NSAP) will transition to a new model that aims to facilitate greater independence for Specialist Palliative Care Services in managing and achieving compliance. Primarily, these changes will involve:

  • A wholly on-line program to assess service against the Standards’ quality elements and upload evidence
  • Automatic and completion progress reports to track improvement initiatives and update progress
  • Some project management tools and linkage with Outlook for email reminders and team communication
  • Resources and links

Development of this new portal is underway, and it is expected to have NSAP functional by early-2019. PCA recognises that services have been in a holding pattern for some time so we invite you to remain connected by following updates through:

Key Reference Documents

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