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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. 



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


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