Specialist palliative care services

While all health professionals are expected to support a person with palliative care needs, a specialist palliative care provider is health professional who has had extra training to provide specialist care for people with a life-limiting illness.

A specialist palliative care service (SPCS) is a service provided by a team of specialist palliative care providers. This would be the team looking after all your needs and can include:

  • Palliative care physician or other doctors and specialists
  • nurses
  • social workers
  • physiotherapists
  • occupational and speech therapists
  • psychologists
  • trained volunteers.

There are a range of CareSearch SPCS resources that can support specialist palliative care.

Medical, nursing and allied health workforce 

The Royal Australian College of Physicians provides advanced training in Palliative Medicine, an in-depth specialty training in the management of patients with active, progressive and far-advanced disease, a limited prognosis and the focus of care is their quality of life. This part of their RACP Fellowship Training Pathways.

There are bodies for specialist professional groups in palliative care including AAHPC (Australian Allied Health in Palliative Care), ANZSPM (Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine) and PCNA (Palliative Care Nurses Australia).

There are CareSearch resources for GPs, for nurses, and for allied health.


Guidance for specialist palliative services 

The National Palliative Care Standards (371kb pdf) articulate and promote a vision for compassionate and appropriate specialist palliative care.

Palliative Care Australia outlines service expectations of specialist palliative care services comprising multidisciplinary teams with specialised skills, competencies, experience, and training in palliative care in the 2018 Palliative Care Service Development Guidelines.

Many specialist palliative care services also participate in the Palliative Care Outcomes Collaborative.


CareSearch blogs

Specialist palliative care resources