National Standards Assessment Program

The National Palliative Care Standards and NSAP

Work is now well underway on the re-design of the National Standards Assessment Program (NSAP) at Palliative Care Australia (PCA).

The National Standards Assessment Program (NSAP) project is funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Health and Ageing. NSAP is a quality improvement program available for all specialist palliative care services across Australia. It is a resource that enables services to engage in continuous quality improvement through self-assessment against Palliative Care Australia’s national palliative care standards

As a voluntary quality improvement program, NSAP provides guidance for self-assessment against the Standards, action plan development and implementation tools as a means to promote continuous quality improvement. NSAP is available to all specialist palliative care service providers (SPCS) Australia-wide.

Overall, NSAP aims to:
  • allow SPCS to identify opportunities to improve the quality of care provided
  • support broader organisational awareness on all levels, from clinical and support staff to management, where a multi-disciplinary self -assessment process encourages communication across the organisation
  • complement existing formal accreditation processes, as evidence collected for NSAP can be utilised in  accreditation processes and vice versa. NSAP provides a mechanism for SPCS to participate in three main stages of quality assurance, on an ongoing basis over a two-year cycle. 
  • Phase 1: Sign up. This phase entails services contacting the NSAP team to receive a sign up kit and nominating appropriate personnel.
  • Phase 2: Self-assessment. This provides a standardised process to undertake a self-assessment of performance against the Standards. SPCS are encouraged to substantiate their rating with evidence.
  • Phase 3: Continuous quality improvement. Using insights gained from the self-assessment phase and national benchmarking, SPCS are encouraged to implement changes to improve service delivery.
In February 2015, the Australian Government’s Department of Health revised the funding agreement for NSAP and as a result the Palliative Care Australia team supporting NSAP was restructured. An independent evaluation of the program has been completed and the Department of Health is reviewing the report to inform the program’s next steps. In the interim, SPCS are continuing their self-assessment cycles and improvement activities. 

Last updated 17 January 2017