New report shows gaps in Australian palliative care service provision
22 October 2012
The report provides information on national responses to the palliative care needs of Australians
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released its inaugural report on palliative care services in Australia.
The report provides a broad understanding of palliative care provision in Australia, but there are some worrying figures which may indicate a lack of access to services for parts of the population.
Palliative Care Australia (PCA) has welcomed the publication of the report 'Palliative care services in Australia', but is concerned by figures which show that less than a quarter of residents who died in residential aged care facilities last year had access to palliative care. "This report is further evidence that more needs to be done to improve access to palliative care in residential aged care," said Dr Yvonne Luxford, chief executive officer of PCA. ‘With around 50,000 residents dying in aged care facilities each year, how many people are missing out on quality end of life care?"
The report also found that
- the number of palliative care hospital admissions rose by more than 50% in the last decade to 56,000
- over a five year period, the number of filled prescriptions from GPs for palliative care medicines decreased.
- attendances by palliative medicine specialists doubled over the past five years, whereas the number of specialists has actually decreased from 2007‐2009.
The report also used data from the Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC), which commented on the extent to which palliative care services are meeting national benchmarks.This data showed that the majority (81%) of patient palliative care episodes met the benchmark for time from referral to contact, that being 90% of patients were contacted by a member of the clinical team within 2 days of receipt of referral.
Read more about the report on the Australia edition of ehospice.