Update to National Palliative Care Standards released

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Update to National Palliative Care Standards released

At a key moment in Australia’s health reform journey, the long-standing benchmark for the delivery of quality palliative care has been updated. 

“Our National Standards for Specialist Palliative Care Services have played a key role in strengthening the sector’s work and delivering quality of life to patients and families for over 15 years,” says Chelsea Menchin, National Projects Manager, Palliative Care Australia (PCA). 

“After a limited scope review, we are proud to launch Edition 5.1 of the standards during National Palliative Care Week.” 

This update comes 5 years after the last review (2018) of the Standards and incorporates simplified, more user-friendly self-assessment tools that services can work through as they embed the nine standards into their ways of working. 

The nine standards cover a range of areas: 

  1. Assessment of needs
  2. Developing a care plan
  3. Caring for carers
  4. Providing care
  5. Transitions within and between services
  6. Grief and Bereavement
  7. Service Culture
  8. Quality Improvement
  9. Staff Qualifications and Training

 “We are really grateful to the Expert Working Group who over the last 18 months have drawn on their own experience working with the standards to shape this timely update,” Ms Menchin says. 

 “Apart from the new checklist approach to the Palliative Care Self-Assessment (PaCSA) tool, Edition 5.1 has been mapped to the updated National Safety and Quality Healthcare Standards 2nd Ed. (2021), and the updated National Consensus Statement: Essential elements for safe high-quality end-of-life care (2023).” 

Additional standards and frameworks will be mapped in the future, including to the new Aged Care Standards and Closing the Gap recommendations. 

The National Palliative Care Standards for Specialist Palliative Care Services Edition 5.1, also sit alongside PCA’s National Palliative Care Standards for All Health Professionals and Aged Care Services – which are focused on better experiences and outcomes for people receiving generalist palliative care within an aged care or primary health setting. 

“For the health professionals and volunteers who deliver palliative care, the care they deliver is underpinned by the Standards which are a tangible framework for services to operate within and work towards,” says Camilla Rowland, Chief Executive Officer, PCA. 

“At a time when governments at all levels are looking to deepen the ongoing reforms happening across the heath and care sectors, these updated standards reinforce the need to put palliative care at the heart of future investments and service delivery.”  

The National Palliative Care Standards for Specialist Palliative Care Services Edition 5.1 as well as the Palliative Care Self-Assessment checklists and service stories are available to download HERE. 

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