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The views and opinions expressed in our blog series are those of the authors and are not necessarily supported by CareSearch, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health.
In 2017 Palliative Care Australia undertook a review and update of the reference documents A Guide to Palliative Care Service Development: A population based approach and Palliative Care Service Provision in Australia: A planning guide. Together these key reference documents have provided a framework for the ongoing development of palliative care policy within the health care system for the last fifteen years.
Many people spend the last stages of their lives in aged care, and for that reason Palliative Care Australia believes that end-of-life care should be recognised as core business for residential aged care. Increasingly, aged care providers are recognising the need to ensure their workforce have the necessary skills and competencies to deliver high quality end-of-life care. Yet in spite of this recognition, access to quality palliative care services is far from guaranteed in residential aged care – particularly in rural and remote areas.
We all want the ‘best death possible’ for our loved ones and ourselves as we enter old age. So we need to ask ourselves, what are the barriers to accessing care that can support this, and will looking at the issue from a population or needs-based policy perspective help to ensure end-of-life care becomes core business for all aged care providers?
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: