The National Standards Assessment Program (NSAP) is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and administered by Palliative Care Australia (PCA). NSAP has been running since 2008 and is a quality improvement program available for all specialist palliative care services in Australia.
NSAP aims to improve outcomes in palliative care and end-of-life care at a systematic level by providing a structured program for services. The structured 2-year NSAP cycle enables specialist palliative care services to enhance the quality of their governance and service delivery by:
- Reviewing how they meet the National Palliative Care Standards (the standards).
- Prioritising key improvement areas so they can better meet the standards.
- Developing and implementing a quality improvement action plan.
Through NSAP, PCA hopes to fulfil their vision of achieving quality palliative care for all Australians.
Recent changes to NSAP
In the last year, NSAP has undergone some change – changes which PCA hope will make the NSAP process simpler for services participating. These are:
- All supporting resources are now available online at the NSAP website for download. This means participating services can choose the option that suits them best: type straight into the documentation, or print and complete by hand.
- The peer mentoring and training program is no longer available. Instead, services will receive the following support as needed throughout the NSAP cycle:
- Access to the NSAP portal on the CareSearch website.
- A tele/videoconference prior to the commencement of self-assessment which answers frequently asked questions and outlines what services can expect at each stage of the NSAP cycle.
- Email and telephone enquiries responded to within 48 hours.
- Entry of self-assessment data on the NSAP portal, as well as the compilation of self- assessment and audit reports within 21 days of submission.
NSAP Project Officer – Lauren Ognenovski
As of April 2016, Lauren Ognenovski, the Policy and Community Engagement Officer at PCA provides support to services participating in NSAP.
Lauren has the following advice for services considering participating in NSAP:
Do what works for you. Services can approach the self-assessment phase of NSAP in a way that works for you. This may be weekly meetings, fortnightly meetings or an all-day meeting and you may like to include doctors, nurses, allied health workers, board members and/or community members to assist with NSAP.
Little action areas can make a big difference. Start small in your first NSAP cycle and build your action areas in subsequent cycles. It is important to remind ourselves that we don’t have to achieve everything in one go – but rather continuously work towards quality improvement. Services do not have to address every element of care in one cycle, but rather should identify smaller action areas that the NSAP team can realistically achieve within the two-year cycle to improve the quality of care.
Ask questions. If you’re unsure about something with NSAP, send Lauren an email and she’ll get back to you within 48 hours or call her on 02 6232 0700 between 9.00am – 4.00pm (AEDT) on weekdays. She is here to help!
Visit the NSAP website for more information about NSAP and to download a copy of the NSAP resources, forms and documents.
To learn more about PCA visit their website.
Lauren Ognenovski, NSAP Project Officer and Policy and Community Engagement Officer, Palliative Care Australia