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What's New in the Community

This section will keep you up to date with news and events in the palliative care community. Please note that links below were current at time of posting, however links may become obsolete as websites update content.

2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008


How to begin having conversations about the end

AMA Victoria has received funding from the Department of Health to develop a set of resources to support doctors to ‘have the conversation’ about advance care planning with their patients.A draft set of the learning materials is now available online for comment. 

Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease—Australian facts: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

This AIHW report on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people presents up-to-date statistics on risk factors, prevalence, hospitalisation and deaths from these 3 chronic diseases. It examines age and sex characteristics and variations by geographical location and compares these with the non-Indigenous population.

Better Informed Health Care through Better Clinical Guidelines

NHMRC has released a discussion paper ‘Better informed health care through better clinical guidelines’ which addresses the key challenges facing guideline development in Australia, and includes the NHMRC’s draft 2015 Standards for Guidelines. View the discussion paper and make a submission.

Updated: Deaths web pages

The existing AIHW Deaths web pages has been update with the latest available (2013) national data on deaths and cause of death. There were 147,678 deaths registered in Australia in 2013, with 2 in 3 deaths occurring in people aged 75 or over. The leading cause of death in Australia was coronary heart disease.

PCOC  Report January - June 2015

The Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC) has released a national report on patient outcomes in palliative care for the period January to June 2015.  The report includes patient outcomes for a total of 19,220 patients, with 24,180 episodes of care and 55,991 palliative care phases from 100 palliative care services – 59 inpatient services, 28 community and 13 services which provide both inpatient and community palliative care.

Dementia Institute

The new NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research, hosted by Alzheimer’s Australia, is up and running in Canberra. Follow the Institute on Twitter or subscribe to their newsletter: Dementia Dispatch.

Views and Experiences of Allied Health Professionals about Palliative Care

Allied health professionals are invited to participate in an online survey on their knowledge and understanding of palliative care. Details on the research project and a link to the survey can be found below:

Radiotherapy in Australia: report on a pilot data collection 2013-14

This AIHW report on the first pilot year collection details national radiotherapy data. 

Opioid Price Watch Project

IAHPC has launched the second round of Opioid Price Watch (OPW), a project to monitor and report the dispensing price of opioids around the world. In this second round, individuals from all over the world will be collecting data on the availability and dispensing prices of opioids and submitting it to IAHPC. deadline to particiapte is 30 November 2015.

Outcomes of 2015 NHRMC Applications

Over 2,000 researchers will share in the $630 million for projects including: obesity prevention; cancer genomics and hereditary diseases; a new medication to help treat severe ice addiction; new treatment for drug-resistant depression; different treatments for PTSD and the impact shift working has on pregnancy outcomes

new healthdirect mobile app

The Health Direct app is designed to help people make health decisions quickly, safely and easily. It provides consumers with an easy way to access information partner content on a mobile device. The healthdirect app allows people to:
  • search for trusted information: This function leads consumers to information partner sites. A primary feature of the app designed to encourage consumers to search trusted Australian sites for their health information.
  • check symptoms:The Symptom Checker tool guides people through a set of questions to help them better understand their symptoms and receive advice on what to do next, whether it is self-care or seeing a health professional.
  • find local health services: The app puts the most comprehensive directory of Australian health services at people’s fingertips, to help them easily find the service they need, when they need it.

Breast cancer in young women

A new AIHW report presents information and statistics about breast cancer in young women aged 20-39 years.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing portal

Health Info Net has released an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing portal, an online hub for people working in healing, health, justice, education, employment, child protection and family violence.

MBS Items and Advance Care Planning

The Advance Care Planning in General Practice: Guidance on use of MBS Items (99kb pdf)  describes how MBS Item numbers may be used by GPs for Advance Care Planning (ACP) where clinically appropriate, (for example; existing terminal illness or chronic disease with potential to impact on duration and/or quality of life, or when it is requested by the patient). The use of the MBS item types / numbers for ACP activities in general practice have been endorsed by the Australian Government Department of Health.

Infographic on Palliative Care

The World Health Organization has produced an infographic on palliative care. It is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. 

Launch of the World report on ageing and health

With advances in medicine helping more people to live longer lives, the number of people over the age of 60 is expected to double by 2050 and will require radical societal change, according to a new report released by the World Health Organization for the International Day of Older Persons.

New medication list supports GPs managing terminal symptoms in people wishing to die at home

General practitioners (GPs) wishing to achieve optimum symptom control for terminally ill patients who choose to die at home now have access to a consensus-based medication list to assist their decision making. The list of nine medications was developed by a panel of 12 experts, including GPs, pharmacists, nurse practitioners and palliative medicine specialists, under the direction of The Australian & New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine (ANZSPM).

Palliative Care for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender People and People with Intersex Characteristics (LGBTI)

A joint position statement from Palliative Care Australia (PCA) and the National LGBTI Health Alliance  has been produced. 

Fit for the Future Presentations

PCA has made powerpoint presentations from the Fit for the Future Conference avaialble online.  

Quality of Death rankings

Australia has been ranked second of 80 countries in the 2015 Quality of Death Index released this week by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and commissioned by the Lien Foundation, a Singaporean philanthropic organisation.  

My Health record System

A Committee to oversee the rebooted personalised My Health Record system for patients and doctors to deliver Australians an electronic medical record system has been established

Premature mortality in Australia 1997–2012

This web report measures and describes the impact of premature mortality in Australia - that is, deaths among people younger than 75.

International Palliative Care Network Conference 2015 is LIVE

The International Palliative Care Network Conference 2015 (under the auspices of the European Association for Palliative Care) is now live. Charles F. von Gunten, MD PhD, Vice President, Medical Affairs, Hospice and Palliative Medicine for OhioHealth Kobacker House, Ohio, USA, addresses the conference in his Keynote. Over twenty lectures are available for immediate download. The conference comprises free access and downloads for all. To be involved, visit the Palliative Care Network conference website. 

Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce consultation 

Two consultation papers are intended to encourage discussion and input from stakeholders on the MBS review process and the MBS more generally. These papers set out the background and context for the Review, and focus on some specific important issues. The survey can be accessed at the Department's consultation hub.

New Bereavement Factsheets

The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement has two new fact sheets available online, for the benefit of its clients and members of the public - Bereavement in the Workplace and Adolescents and Grief

Appointment as Minister for Aged Care

The Hon Susan Ley has aassumed responsibility for aged care alongside the Minsitries of Health and Sport. She will be working with the Hon Ken Wyatt MP  in his role as Assistant Minister  and The Hon Fiona Nash as Minister for Rural Health.

We are still gay

This resource is Australia's first evidenced based study documenting the experiences and needs of LGBT Australians living with dementia. The resource outlines the key identified issues from the research and provides suggested strategies to help meet the needs of LGBT people living with dementia. 

New AIHW palliative care web report

A new AIHW report shows that palliative care-related hospitalisations have risen by over 50% in the last decade.

Occupational therapy in palliative care 

This position paper developed by Occupational Therapy Australia:
  • outlines the role of occupational therapy in palliative care in Australia
  • provides an overview of the contextual factors experienced by the profession of occupational therapy in this practice setting, and
  • proposes recommendations to improve practice and relevant policy.

Communication at end-of-life in hospital

From the Department of Health (WA) and the WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network (2015): Consumer Carer Focus Group Report - 'Communication at end-of-life in hospital’ (1.44mb pdf)

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Framework

This framework developed by Cancer Australia provides high-level guidance and direction to individuals, organisations and communities working to address disparities and improve cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Children's Cancer

A new website offers "step-by-step" guidance and "puts the disease into perspective" for families of children diagnosed with cancer. Children's Cancer includes information on types of childrens cancers and on living with cancer.

NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research established

NHMRC has engaged Alzheimer’s Australia to operate the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research. The Institute will provide the platform for strategically expanding dementia research in Australia, ensure better integration with international research and form a focus for rapid translation of evidence into policy and practice.

Australia's welfare 2015

Australia's welfare 2015 is the 12th biennial welfare report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. This comprehensive report provides an authoritative overview of the wellbeing of Australians, examining a wide range of relevant topics.

The Costs of Informal Care

A new report shows that the replacement value of the care provide by Australia's unpaid carers has increased to $60.3 billion per year - over $1 billion every week. The Deloitte Access Economics Report, 'The Economic Value of Informal Care in Australia 2015', details how the demand for carers is at an all-time high and only set to increase into the future.

New AIHW webpage updates

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released updates to its web pages today:

National Carers Week 2015

National Carers Week this year will be held from 11-17 October 2015. It will focus on recognising and celebrating the outstanding contribution unpaid carers make to our nation.

Chronic disease and comorbidities 

The term chronic disease applies to a group of diseases that tend to be long lasting and have persistent effects. Chronic diseases have a range of potential impacts on a person's individual circumstances, including quality of life and broader social and economic effects. Comorbidity refers to any two or more diseases that occur in one person at the same time. This web release from AIHW presents comorbidity data for eight selected chronic diseases. It shows that nearly 5 in 10 Australians have at least one of the eight selected chronic conditions, and 2 in 10 have two or more.

New Cochrane Library Special Collection: Indigenous Health

Cochrane has released a special collection and two editorials to acknowledge International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, a United Nations event commemorated worldwide on 9 August each year

New Dementia research funding

Six Dementia Research Team Grants including the largest dementia clinical trial in the world for people aged 55 to 75 to test an online tool to reduce the risk of dementia, and projects aiming to uncover early warning signs of Alzheimer’s and non-Alzheimer’s disease dementias earlier have been funded.

Be Medicinewise at all ages and life stages

NPS MedicineWise has announced that Be Medicinewise Week will be held again this year from 12-18 October 2015. This year's theme, 'Be medicinewise at all ages and life stages', focuses on how and when Australians may use medicines differently at various times in their life.

Advance Care Planning Education Opportunities

The Decision Assist program is now up-skilling general practice clinicians through the provision of ACP education for GPs, practice nurses and GP registrars through Train-the-Trainer (TTT) workshops for ACP ‘GP champions’, Regional Training Provider GP Medical Educators and practice nurse educators to equip them to run ACP workshops.  

Primary health care reform discussion paper 

The Australian Government has released an options discussion paper ‘Better outcomes for people living Chronic and Complex Health Conditions through Primary Health Care’. Comments via a survey and attendance at consultation meetings are being sought.

Better Cardiac Care measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: first national report 2015 

This is the first national report on the 21 Better Cardiac Care measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It shows that: the age-standardised death rate due to cardiac conditions for Indigenous people was 1.6 times that for non-Indigenous people; mortality from cardiac conditions for Indigenous Australians decreased by 41% between 1998 and 2012, while access to cardiac care has improved over time.

Cultural competency in the delivery of health services for Indigenous people

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released a new report examining the available evidence on cultural competence in international and local literature. It defines cultural competency; reports on available evidence; identifies approaches and strategies that are effective in improving cultural competency among health services staff, examines the relationship between cultural competency and health outcomes, and documents an evidence-informed conceptual framework.

Tom Reeve Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cancer Care

Celebrating the 10th year of this prestigious award, COSA is proud to announce the 2015 recipient of the Tom Reeve Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cancer Care, Professor David Currow

Opioid  Price Watch

IAHPC has launched the second round of Opioid Price Watch (OPW), a project to monitor and report the dispensing price of opioids around the world.The goal of OPW is to present information and generate awareness about availability and access to opioids for legitimate medical use.

Cancer mortality trends and projections: 2013 to 2025

An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report indicates that cancer death rates have generally decreased over time, with the death rate from all cancers combined decreasing from 199 deaths per 100,000 people in 1968 to 167 per 100,000 in 2012.

Spatial variation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's access to primary health care

This report presents the findings of work undertaken to map access to primary health-care services across Australia relative to the distribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

EdCan Updated

Cancer Australia has released the updated EdCaN, a suite of online modules and resources, which provide support and knowledge for all cancer nurses regardless of experience or setting. The resources are intended to improve care for people with cancer through professional development activities for individual nurses to meet their own learning needs, or by educators who design and implement professional development activities.

New Training Portal

An expanded palliative care online information and training portal, with new training materials and extensive resources has been launched. There are now six units are now available at no cost, at

Australian Hospital Statistics

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released three new reports on Australian hospital statistics:

Decision Assist on the Aged Care Channel - Palliative Care support for Aged Care 

This 30 minute program is free and can be viewed on your PC, Laptop, Mac, iPad, iPhone or smartphone and is suitable for Registered Nurses, Enrolled Nurses, experienced aged care staff, Case Managers, GPs, and allied health professionals working for providers of Residential Aged Care and Home Care Packages. short preview is now available to view (1:30mins).
  • Please register and save the date: Wednesday 29th July 2015,  2:15pm - 2:45pm

Interprofessional Clinical Decision Making for Collaborative Practice: Research Participation Opportunity

A Clinical Psychology PhD candidate at Griffith University, researching clinical decision making and collaborative interprofessional practice (IPP) is seeking survey participants.  Working collaboratively within interprofessional environments is paramount to successful intervention planning for patient care.  The aim of this survey research is to examine medical and health professionals’ clinical reasoning capabilities, and to improve interprofessional collaboration.  Please see the link below to conduct the survey.  This survey should only take up to 25 minutes to complete and can be accessed at For further queries please email

The health and welfare of Australias Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2015 

This report is the eighth in a series of reports that provide a comprehensive statistical picture of a range of topics considered important for improving the health and wellbeing of Indigenous people. The report presents up-to-date statistics, as well as trend information. It examines differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, as well as differences by factors such as age, sex and, in particular remoteness.

National consensus statement: Essential elements for safe and high-quality end-of-life care

A new consensus statement describing the essential elements for providing safe and high-quality care at the end of life has been endorsed by the Australian Health Ministers as the national approach to the delivery of end-of-life care in Australian hospitals.

Disenfranchised Grief

The Autumn 2015 edition of The Rosemary Branch is looking at disenfranchised grief.


National Palliative Care Projects

Senator Fiona Nash today announced the distribution of the funds for national palliative care projects. Caresearch, PaCCSC, PCA, PCOC PEPA/PCC4U and Respecting Patient Choices have been continued. New projects include national project to improve paediatric palliative care; projects focussed on person-centred palliative care, and bench-marking of skills; training to support carers of palliative care patients; an online ACP resource, taking account of various religious and cultural considerations.

PBAC Chair

Professor Andrew Wilson has been appointed as the new Chair of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC).

After hours GP Services

General Practices that provide after-hours services to patients will be able to apply for a Practice Incentives Programme (PIP) after-hours incentive from the Federal Government from 1 July.

Australian Clinical Trials

An Australian-first website is helping more patients to connect with clinical trials. It also provides information about the role and processes associated with clinical trials

New Palliative Approach Toolkit resources for residential aged care staff

The PA Toolkit website has had a makeover and several new resources have been added that will help residential aged care staff provide high quality evidence-based end of life care. You can also now search by resource, care issue, and user. The new resources are available at and include: For further information email

Choosing wisely

This initiative of the NPS highlights 5 questions consumers should ask their doctor about a test or procedure.

Now Available: palliAGED

palliAGED is a new smartphone app that helps GPs who are caring for older palliative patients living at home or in residential care. As most deaths are expected, death can be planned for and the required care delivered in a pre-emptive fashion. General practitioners (GPs) have a central role in planning and providing for that care. palliAGED can help them in this role. 

Lung cancer in our mob

A new resource from Cancer Australia, Lung Cancer in Our Mob, has been developed for health professionals working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to help them support Indigenous Australians with lung cancer.

Graduate Certificate in Bereavement Counselling & Intervention

The Graduate Certificate is a ten-month, part-time course delivered in Mulgrave, Victoria. The July 2015 intake runs until June 2016 with sessions on Fridays from 11am to 3pm. Applications close Friday 29 May .

National Palliative Care Week 2015

National Palliative Care Week runs from Sunday 24th - Saturday 30th May 2015. This year's theme is: Dying to talk; talking about dying won't kill you.

PCA Conference: Pre conference half day workshops

A series of half day educational workshops will be held before the conference on Tuesday 1 September 2015. These workshops will provide the opportunity for skill building, information exchange and small group discussions on a variety of topics.

New Primary Health Networks to deliver better local care

31 new Primary Health Networks – worth a total of nearly $900 million will be “outcome focussed” on improving frontline services, and would also generally align with state Local Hospital Networks to ensure better integration between primary and acute care services.

PalAssist available 24/7

PalAssist, operated by Cancer Council Queensland, is being offered round the clock, extending the service which had previously been available only five days a week during work hours. It is a free telephone and online service which offers immediate advice and emotional support. PalAssist is available free to Queenslanders 24 hours, seven days a week, on 1800 772 273.

Bereavement Practice for Clinicians and Service Providers

The Summer 2015 edition of Bereavement Practice for Clinicians and Service Providers the feature article looks at endings in the context of grief counselling

Feedback on NHMRC Evidence Briefs

The NHMRC is undertaking a new program of work to summarise systematic reviews published on The Cochrane Library for the Australian public. Public consultation is currently open on two new evidence briefs. Both consultations close on 13 April 2015:

Deaths Data

This web update presents the latest data on deaths, causes of death and life expectancy in Australia. There were 147,678 deaths registered in Australia in 2013.

Research Masters or PhD Scholarship

The PCRNV will be offering a Masters or PhD scholarship in 2015 for Victorian students that are able to conduct high quality research into palliative care leading to immediate patient benefit.

Scholarship Opportunities

The University of Sydney has two scholarship opportunities for nurses working in and/or pursuing research in aged care, palliative care, community care, mental health, primary health care and any other similar areas.

Use of aged care services before death

This AIHW bulletin looks at the use of aged care services in the 8 years before death for those who died in 2010-11 aged at least 65. Overall, 80% of these people had used aged care in the 8 years before death, and three-fifths were aged care clients when they died.

NHMRC statement and advice on homeopathy

The NHMRC statement concludes that there is no good quality evidence to support the claim that homeopathy is effective in treating health conditions.

New Ceo for NHMRC

Professor Anne Kelso AO will take on the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) when Professor Warwick Anderson AO steps down in March .

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Cancer Framework. Cancer Australia wants to hear from all people who have a role in cancer control, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers, GPs, nurses, specialists, allied health practitioners and people who work in screening, prevention and palliative care. The online survey can be accessed from 24 February 2015 and will remain open until the 27 March 2015. To complete the survey, please click here

Public consultation on elements of the Project Grants scheme

Public feedback on two aspects of project grants assessment (Not For Further Consideration (NFFC) and Applicant Response steps; and  duration of Project Grants funding) is being sought by the NHMRC. Comments must be received by  Friday, 27 March 2015, 03:00pm (AEDST)

Collaborative Improvement Project: Support for carers

NSAP worked with 35 specialist palliative care services from across Australia in 2013-2014 looking at how to improve the assessment, planning and delivery of support to meet the needs of carers of palliative care patients using a collaborative improvement methodology. The Evaluation Report of the project is now available.

New online training modules

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, in partnership with Silver Chain Training, has received funding to build two additional online training modules to further support best practice palliative care services for older people. The project team is seeking input via a short survey about the kinds of online learning modules to meet future palliative care training needs.

NHMRC Ethics Award 2015

The NHMRC Ethics Award recognises outstanding Australians for their contributions to high ethical standards in health and medical research.Nominations for the NHMRC Ethics Award close COB Friday 27 March 2015

Research Studies

  • Research Study exploring Mindfulness for Informal Palliative Caregivers (96kb pdf) A PhD candidate is seeking participants for a study on the perceived benefits and key considerations in providing Mindfulness based programs and teaching for informal palliative caregivers.
  • A Clinical Psychology PhD candidate at Griffith University researching clinical decision making and collaborative interprofessional practice is seeking participants for her study.  The aim of this project is to examine medical and health professionals’ clinical reasoning capabilities, and to improve IPT collaboration. For expressions of interest, participant incentives, and further information please email

Feedback on draft guidelines on organ transplantation

The public consultation on the draft Ethical guidelines for organ transplantation from deceased donors   will close on 6 March at 5:00pm AEDT. To make a submission, visit the NHMRC Public Consultations website.

Dementia Research Priorities

NHMRC consultation and survey shows that finding ways to prevent dementia, improving diagnosis and better care are considered top priorities for future dementia research.

National Palliative Care Service Directory

Maintained by Palliative Care Australia, the National Palliative Care Service Directory provides information about specialist palliative care service providers, state or territory palliative care organisations and community support agencies. The directory replaces PCA Connect as a source of palliative care service information.

Global status report on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) 2014

This World Health Organization report looks at the prevention and control of NCDs. The report provides data on the current situation, identifying bottlenecks as well as opportunities and priority actions for attaining targets.

Successful Linkage grants: Decision Assist

The successful Linkage grants for the Decision Assist Program have been announced. They  will develop communication pathways and tools that support improved coordination and quality of end-of-life care between palliative care services and services in receipt of Commonwealth home care or residential aged care funding. Successful recipients are listed by state:

Optimal Care Pathways

Cancer Council Victoria is seeking feedback on two care pathways over the period to 11th February, 2015. Input from medical colleges, peak organisations and other interested groups/individuals is being sought. This public consultation round relates to:
  • Optimal cancer care for people with ovarian cancer
  • Optimal cancer care for people with high grade glioma.

NSAP Update

NSAP is moving into an online environment continuing the self-assessment of palliative care standards at a new website. Check out the new site at

CareSearch develops Decision Assist resources

A set of resources has been developed by the CareSearch team to support the Decision Assist Program. They include:
Last updated 25 November 2015