Palliative Care Service Development Guidelines

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Palliative Care Service Development Guidelines

Service Development Guidelines 2018

Palliative Care Australia (PCA) has produced updated Palliative Care Service Development Guidelines which replace two previous guidelines: Palliative Care Service Provision in Australia: A Planning Guide; and A Guide to Palliative Care Service Development: A Population-Based Approach.

The purpose of the updated Guidelines is to communicate the expectations of PCA for:

  • The range of palliative care services that should be available to people living with a life-limiting illness, their families and carers; and
  • The workforce and system capabilities required to deliver an effective network of palliative care services using a population-based and geographic approach to service planning.

The primary audience for these updated Service Development Guidelines (Guidelines) is:

  • State and territory governments who have responsibility for planning and organising them provision of publicly funded palliative care services;
  • Private health insurers who pay for palliative care services for privately insured patients, with these services being delivered by private or public providers;
  • Directors of specialist palliative care services; and
  • Other health professionals involved in providing palliative care in all service settings.

PCA believes that it is important to be aspirational and set high expectations for the development of palliative care services across Australia. These Guidelines are intended to influence how governments make decisions on the development of these services, how private health insurers make decisions about which services to fund, and how public and private sector providers of palliative care organise and deliver services.

In addition, PCA notes that these Service Development Guidelines are intended to complement, but not duplicate, other key resource documents for the palliative care sector including:

» The Standards for Providing Quality Palliative Care for all Australians by PCA;

» The National Palliative Care Strategy endorse by Health Ministers, Published by Commonwealth of Australia; and

» The National Consensus Statement: Essential Elements for Safe and High-Quality End-of-Life Care produced by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

These Guidelines have been developed through a process that has included:

» A literature review, together with analysis of data on the demand for, and supply of, palliative care services;

» Consultation with the palliative care sector and other stakeholders with an interest in palliative care; and

» Review and consensus decision-making through a committee including PCA Board members, jurisdictional representatives and other experts.

These Guidelines are underpinned by a comprehensive Background Report that provides the policy context, detailed evidence and analysis. The Guidelines and the Background Report are complementary:

» The Guidelines are the ‘action guide’, setting out the expectations that PCA has developed for the palliative care service system; and

» The Background Report is the ‘evidence guide’, comprising analysis of data on the supply and utilisation of palliative care services, together with evidence from the literature and all supporting references.

The Guidelines include short break-out boxes (titled: Background evidence and analysis) that summarise the most relevant evidence and analysis. All the source material for these boxes is included in the Background Report.

View the Palliative Care Service Development Guidelines
View the Palliative Care Service Development Guidelines Factsheet
View the Background Report to the Palliative Care Service Development Guidelines

Paediatric Addendum - December 2018

The Paediatric Addendum to the Palliative Care Service Development Guidelines outlines PCA’s expectations for paediatric palliative care and complements the existing Palliative Care Service Development Guidelines (January 2018). The Addendum has been developed with the contribution of a dedicated working group, who have provided their expertise and assistance throughout this process. The Addendum seeks to support the future design and development of paediatric palliative care services around Australia and by extension, support the health professionals who provide the services that meet the needs of children needing specialist palliative care and their families. The Addendum also highlights some of the similarities and differences between adult and paediatric palliative care, with these unique characteristics often requiring special consideration for service planning and resource allocation. The development of the Addendum has been funded by the Australian Government.

View the Paediatric Addendum to the Palliative Care Service Development Guidelines
View the Background Report to the Paediatric Addendum to the Palliative Care Service Development Guidelines


PCA would like to acknowledge the people who have contributed to the development of the Palliative Care Service Development Guidelines (2018).

PCA would like to extend a special thank to the Members of the Service Delivery Review Steering Committee for their contribution and expertise throughout the review process.

Name Organisation Role on Steering Committee
Professor Patsy Yates (Chair) Queensland University of Technology Subject Matter Expert
Mr Andrew Allsop Silver Chain Group Allied Health Representative and Chair of the PCA Standards Working Group
Ms Amanda Bolleter Department of Health WA State and Territory Jurisdiction Representative
Ms Liz Callaghan Palliative Care Australia CEO of Palliative Care Australia
Professor David Currow University of Technology Sydney Subject Matter Expert
Dr Annie Dullow Department of Health Department of Health Representative
Professor Kathy Eagar University of Wollongong Subject Matter Expert
Dr Jane Fischer Calvary Health Care Bethlehem President of Palliative Care Australia
Dr Judi Greaves Palliative Care Victoria (former President) Palliative Care Presidents Representative
Mr Gary Hanson Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Representative
Professor Jane Phillips University of Technology Sydney Palliative Care Nurses Australia Representative
Dr Jennifer Philip St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine Representative
Professor Jennifer Tieman Flinders University Subject Matter Expert
Ms Tracey Watters Palliative Care SA Palliative Care Organisations Representative