Finding palliative care resources for your practice 

This collection provides tools, information and resources for use when caring for palliative care patients and those coming to the end of their life.


Palliative care for specific populations (294kb pdf)
From Australian Family Physician
Pain management in Aboriginal health (443kb pdf)
From Rural and Remote Health

About advance care planning (Select State or Territory of interest)
From the Advance Care Planning Australia website
Advance care planning explained
From the Advance Care Planning Australia website
Create your advance care plan (Select State or Territory of interest)
From the Advance Care Planning Australia website

The Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin, US

Produces factsheets including:

State by state information about advance care planning
From the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners website

Health professionals: roles and responsibilities
From Advance Care Planning Australia website

See also:

  • Communication
  • Non-malignant diseases
  • Prognosis


PalliAGEDgp
Smartphone app supports GPs who are caring for older palliative patients living at home or in residential care. Includes section on terminal prescribing
Medical care of older persons in residential aged care
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioner's Silver Book

Pain in Residential Aged Care Facilities: Management Strategies, 2nd Edition
Resources from the Australian Pain Society including downloadable forms

palliAGED
Visit for evidence-based guidance

Palliative care for specific populations (294kb pdf)
From Australian Family Physician
Dignity and the challenge of dying in nursing homes: the residents’ view
From Age and Ageing

Pain assessment in the cognitively impaired
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts
Pain assessment in advanced dementia - PAINAD Scale
Validated tool for use in dementia
Abbey Pain scale (125kb pdf)
From Dementia Care Australia. To assess pain in the patient who is cognitively impaired or unable to communicate verbally

See also:

  • Cognitive impairment
  • Residential aged care

Palliative treatment of malignant ascites
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts

How to : Perform an ascitic tap
From Palliative Medicine Handbook

See also:

  • Bowel obstruction


Needs Assessment Tool for Progressive Disease (NAT PD)
From Centre for Health Research and Psycho-oncology
The PEPSICOLA aide memoire (128 kb doc)
A palliative care monthly review checklist from Gold Standards Framework website

The modified Karnofsky scale (35kb pdf)
For assessing performance state and prognosis in advanced disease
Validation of the Australian-modified Karnofsky Performance Scale
From BMC Palliative Care
The ECOG score
For assessing performance state and prognosis in advanced cancer
Summary of prognostic tools commonly used in palliative care (642kb pdf)
From Gold Standards Framework (UK)

The Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin, US
Produces factsheets including:

Abbey Pain scale (125kb pdf)

To assess pain in the patient who is cognitively impaired or unable to communicate verbally
Pain Assessment in Advanced Dementia - PAINAD Scale
Validated tool for use in dementia

Symptom review - SAS
The standard symptom assessment tool used in Australian palliative care services. Assesses 7 core symptoms
Symptom review - Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (299kb pdf)
Used for a more extensive assessment of physical and psychological problems

Delirium – Confusion Assessment Method (CAM)
Validated screening tool for delirium from The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, New York University

Understanding grief
From Palliative Care Australia
Suffering, loss and grief in palliative care (274kb pdf)
From Australian Family Physician

Guidance for bereavement needs assessment in palliative care
From Help the Hospices (UK). Scroll down to follow the link to the PDF
Survey of bereavement support provided by Australian palliative care services
From MJA
Mortality after hospitalization of a spouse
From New England Journal of Medicine

A systematic review of the literature on complicated grief
Commonwealth funded report, 2006
Clinical practice guidelines for the psychosocial and bereavement support of family caregivers of palliative care patients (630kb pdf)
Published by the Centre for Palliative Care (Vic) as a resource for health professionals

Bereavement information about the death of a child
From the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. Information parents, siblings, grandparents, and schools

Coping after the death of someone with dementia
From Dementia Australia
      
Bereavement Support Across Cultures (1.91MB pdf)
Calvary Health Care resource for health professionals

Until the chemist opens: palliation from the doctor’s bag
From Australian Family Physician
Bleeding and haemorrhage
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
Massive haemorrhage
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
Symptom guidelines (181kb pdf)
From Fraser health website (CA)

Until the chemist opens: palliation from the doctor’s bag
From Australian Family Physician
Bowel obstruction
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
Symptom guidelines (248kb pdf)
From Fraser health website (CA)

See also:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Symptom management


Needs Assessment Tool for Progressive Disease (NAT PD)
From Centre for Health Research and Psycho-oncology

Needs Assessment Tool for Carers of People with a Chronic Condition (NAT-CC)
From Centre for Health Research and Psycho-oncology

How can I support my friend or family member? (615kb pdf)
An information brochure for families and friends from Palliative Care Australia

Looking after yourself (1.39MB pdf)
A pamphlet from Palliative Care Victoria

Changes for the family
Information about coping with family stress from the National Cancer Institute website, USA

Resources for carers (1.40MB pdf)
A pamphlet from Palliative Care Victoria
Respite care
From Department of Social Services on respite for carers
The process of dying (2.33MB pdf)
A brochure for caregivers from Palliative Care Victoria

Claim forms to help you after someone has died
From CentreLink

Palliative care and caregiver outcomes
From Supportive Care in Cancer
Mortality after hospitalization of a spouse
From New England Journal of Medicine

See also:

  • Bereavement
  • Family issues

EPC Multidisciplinary Case Conferences information and item numbers
Information from Medicare Benefits Scheme Online

Using the palliAGED Palliative Care Case Conference forms
From the palliAGED website

Promoting patient centred palliative care through case conferencing (166kb pdf)
Article from Australian Family Physician

See also:

  • Medicare information

Chemotherapy: response and survival data
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts
Palliative chemotherapy
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts

Palliative care for specific populations (294kb pdf)
From Australian Family Physician

Barriers to paediatric palliative care (290kb pdf)
From Pediatrics

Paediatric pain assessment scales
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts

Bereavement information about the death of a child
From the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne - relates to parents, siblings, grandparents, and schools

When a parent is dying
From Canadian Family Physician

Prognostication in dementia
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts
Pain assessment in the cognitively impaired
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts
Pain Assessment in Advanced Dementia - PAINAD Scale
Validated tool for use in dementia
Abbey Pain scale (125kb pdf)
To assess pain in the patient who is cognitively impaired or unable to communicate verbally. From Dementia Care Australia

See also:

  • Aged

Asking questions can help
A question prompt list. From Palliative Care Australia
How can I support my friend or family member? (615kb pdf)
An information brochure for families and friends from Palliative Care Australia
Palliative care information in other languages
Information brochures in community languages. From Palliative Care Victoria

Talking to patients about death and dying (69kb pdf)
From Australian Family Physician
Teams: Communication in Multidisciplinary Care
Discussion on communication in cancer from The Oncologist
Communicating prognosis and end of life issues…
Guidelines published in the Medical Journal of Australia

The Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin, US
Produces factsheets including:

The National Relay Service
For people with speech and/or hearing difficulty
Books Beyond Words
Information for people with learning or literacy problems - has titles that address death and dying, and living with cancer. Can be ordered online from the Books Beyond Words website.

Confusion and terminal restlessness (1.39MB pdf)
An information brochure for carers from Palliative Care Victoria website

Delirium – Confusion Assessment Method (CAM)
Validated screening tool for delirium from The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, New York University
Delirium – Nursing Delirium Screening Scale NuDESC (140kb pdf)
Validated screening tool for inclusion as part of the nursing assessment of palliative care in-patients

Until the chemist opens: palliation from the doctor’s bag
From Australian Family Physician
Delirium and confusion
From Palliative Medicine Handbook

Terminal agitation
From Palliative Medicine Handbook

Symptom guidelines (304kb pdf)
From Fraser health website (CA)

Until the chemist opens: palliation from the doctor’s bag
From Australian Family Physician
Dyspnoea
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
SVC obstruction
From Palliative Medicine Handbook

Until the chemist opens: palliation from the doctor’s bag -  From Australian Family Physician

Needs Assessment Tool for Progressive Disease - Cancer (128kb pdf)
From Centre for Health Research and Psycho-oncology
Palliative Care Needs Assessment Guidelines Summary (218kb pdf)
From Centre for Health Research and Psycho-oncology

Changes for the family
Information about coping with family stress from the National Cancer Institute website, USA

The Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin, US
Produces factsheets including:

Palliative Care of Patients with HIV
From HIV InSite, University of California, San Francisco, USA.

CPR survival in the hospital setting
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts

When my Dad died
From Learning about intellectual disabilities and health website, UK
Bereavement in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities
From Learning about intellectual disabilities and health website, UK
Managing grief better
From Learning about intellectual disabilities and health website, UK
Books Beyond Words
Information for people with learning or literacy problems - has titles that address death and dying, and living with cancer.  Can be ordered online from the Books Beyond Words website.

Radiotherapy basics for family physicians
From Canadian Family Physician
Epidural and intrathecal analgesia
From Palliative Medicine Handbook

Medicines - safety issues Fact sheet produced by the Better Health Channel

Information for consumers from the National Prescribing Service

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme: Palliative care listing
Provides information on specific preparations and preparations that may be prescribed in larger quantities for palliative care patients
National Prescribing Service
Provides medications information for both consumers and health professionals
Palliative Medicine Handbook
An online palliative care formulary. Click on Notes on Prescribing for detailed symptom management advice for specific symptoms.
Using medicines beyond their license (198kb pdf)
Information from the British Pain Society
Managing comorbidities at the end of life
Article from the BMJ
Essential drugs in palliative care (190kb pdf)
From Australian Family Physician
Until the chemist opens: palliation from the doctor’s bag
From Australian Family Physician 

Subcutaneous opioid infusions
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts
Opioid infusions in the imminently dying patient
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts

See also:

  • Opioids
  • Prescribing in palliative care
  • Symptom management
  • Or sections on specific symptoms

Nausea and vomiting (1.39MB pdf)
An information brochure for consumers. From Palliative Care Victoria

Opioids and nausea
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts
Until the chemist opens: palliation from the doctor’s bag
From Australian Family Physician

Ongoing education

New South Wales

Griffith University

  • Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care

University of Sydney, Pain Management Research Institute (online course)

  • Graduate Certificate in Pain Management
  • Graduate Diploma in Pain Management
  • Master of Medicine (Pain Management)
  • Master of Science in Medicine (Pain Management)

South Australia

Flinders University of South Australia (online course, with on campus intensives in some topics)

  • Palliative Care
  • Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care
  • Graduate Diploma in Palliative Care
  • Master of Palliative Care
  • Graduate Certificate in Health (Palliative Care)
  • Palliative Care in Aged Care
  • Graduate Diploma in Palliative Care in Aged Care
  • Master of Palliative Care in Aged Care
  • Doctor of Philosophy

University of Adelaide

  • Graduate Certificate in Grief and Palliative Care Counselling
  • Graduate Diploma in Grief and Palliative Care Counselling
  • Masters in Grief and Palliative Care Counselling

Victoria

LaTrobe University

  • Health Promoting Palliative Care (Graduate Certificate)
  • Master of Health Sciences (Palliative Care Major)

Monash University

  • Community-based Palliative Care for Health Practitioners (on-line)
  • Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences: PGP5018 Palliative care

University of Melbourne (online or on campus)

  • Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care
  • Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care
  • Master of Public Health (by Coursework)
  • Master of Public Health (by Research)

Western Australia

Edith Cowan University (online course)

  • Master of Clinical Nursing

Overcoming Cancer Pain - A guide for people with cancer, their families and friends (314kb pdf)
Booklet for patients and families. From the Cancer Council of NSW

Sample pain diary (101kb pdf)
From the American Cancer Society and example of a pain diary. This is suitable for any person with pain, not just those with cancer

Facts about morphine and other opioid medicines in palliative care
Brochure for consumers. From Palliative Care Australia
About pain and the help available (1.66MB pdf)
For patients and families. From Palliative Care Victoria

Pain assessment tool in multiple languages
From the British Pain Society
Pain assessment in the cognitively impaired
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts
Abbey Pain Scale (125kb pdf)
Used for measuring pain in those who cannot verbalise
Pain Assessment in Advanced Dementia - PAINAD Scale
Validated tool for use in dementia
Paediatric pain assessment scales
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts

Pain management in palliative care
From Australian Family Physician
Pain in Residential Aged Care Facilities: Management Strategies, 2nd Edition
Resources from the Australian Pain Society including downloadable forms

Neuropathic pain
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
Morphine resistant pain
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
Epidural and intrathecal analgesia
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
Radiotherapy basics for family physicians
From Canadian Family Physician
Until the chemist opens: palliation from the doctor’s bag
From Australian Family Physician

IASP Pain Factsheets

The modified Karnofsky scale (35kb pdf)
For assessing performance state and prognosis in advanced disease
The ECOG score
For assessing performance state and prognosis in advanced cancer
Determining prognosis in advanced cancer
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts

Malignant pleural effusions: interventional management
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts
How to: Perform a pleural tap
From Palliative Medicine Handbook

PalliAGEDgp
Smartphone app supports GPs who are caring for older palliative patients living at home or in residential care. Includes section on terminal prescribing

Palliative Medicine Handbook
An online palliative care formulary. Click on Notes on Prescribing for detailed symptom management advice for specific symptoms.
PBS information for prescribers
From the Department of Health
Information on palliative care listings
Factsheet from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Medicines - safety issues
Fact sheet produced by the Better Health Channel
Medicines and brand names, explained
From National Prescribing Service

Treatment of depression in cancer patients (166kb pdf)
From Ontario’s Program in Evidence Based Care
Panic disorder at end-of-life
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts
Substance use disorders in the palliative care patient
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts

National Palliative Care Service Directory
For consumers and health professionals. From Palliative Care Australia

General practitioners’ use and experiences of palliative care services
From BMC Palliative Care

Dignity and the challenge of dying in nursing homes: the residents’ view.
From Age and Ageing

Medical Care of Older Persons in Residential Aged Care
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Silver Book
Pain in Residential Aged Care Facilities: Management Strategies, 2nd Edition
Resources from the Australian Pain Society including downloadable forms
palliAGED 
Visit for evidence-based guidance

Pain assessment in the cognitively impaired
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts
Pain Assessment in Advanced Dementia - PAINAD Scale
Validated tool for use in dementia
Abbey Pain scale (125kb pdf)
From Dementia Care Australia. To assess pain in the patient who is cognitively impaired or unable to communicate verbally

Convulsions and seizures
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
Neurological symptoms
From the Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne
Seizures
From the Scottish Palliative Care Guidelines

Self-care and mental health resources for general practitioners
Was developed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) to increase members awareness of available supports.

Caring for oneself to care for others: physicians and their self-care.
Article published in the Journal of Supportive Oncology, 2013.

DRS4DRS
Doctors' Health Services
The conspiracy of silence: Emotional health amongst medical practitioners
A literature review from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

Confronting personal mortality 
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts
Professional patient boundaries in palliative care
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts

Learning to cope
From The Oncologist’s Schwarz Center Rounds. Discussion about how doctors cope with the deaths of their patients, and the costs and consequences of different coping strategies
Hope
From The Oncologist’s Schwarz Center Rounds. Discussion about the challenges of maintaining hope – for both doctors and patients – when working with patients dying of cancer

Report on prevalence and predictors of burnout in oncology (289kb pdf)
From Cancer Institute NSW, COSA and CHERP

Spinal cord compression
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
Evidence from trial or study results: spinal cord compression
From Cancer Australia
Metastatic spinal cord compression in adults 
Guidelines from National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, UK

Ethical boundaries of spiritual care
Article from MJA
Suffering, grief and loss in palliative care
Article from Australian Family Physician

Palliative Medicine Handbook
An online palliative care formulary. Click on Notes on Prescribing for detailed symptom management advice for specific symptoms.
Palliating symptoms other than pain (159kb pdf)
From Australian Family Physician
Patient summary of treatment recommendations near the end of life 
From the American College of Physicians

Dyspnoea
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
SVC obstruction
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
Intestinal obstruction
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
Delirium and confusion
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
Terminal agitation
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
Bleeding and haemorrhage
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
Massive haemorrhage
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
Spinal cord compression
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
Metastatic spinal cord compression in adults
Guidelines from National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, UK
Convulsions and seizures
From Palliative Medicine Handbook
Radiotherapy basics for family physicians
From Canadian Family Physician

An information brochure for consumers. From Palliative Care Victoria
Nausea and vomiting (1.39MB pdf)
An information brochure for consumers. From Palliative Care Victoria
Nutrition in palliative care (1.39MB pdf)
An information brochure for carers. From Palliative Care Victoria
Anorexia in advanced illness (1.39MB pdf)
An information brochure for patients and families. From Palliative Care Victoria
Confusion and terminal restlessness (1.39MB pdf)
An information brochure for carers. From Palliative Care Victoria

Syringe Driver Management In Palliative Care
Online education module on syringe driver management from the Centre for Palliative Care Research and Education

Subcutaneous opioid infusions
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts
Opioid infusions in the imminently dying patient
From the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts

Online calculator: Drug compatibility in syringe drivers
From Palliative Medicine Handbook

Online information for young carers
From Young Carers Network

Young adult carers in the UK (1.21MB pdf)
From the Princess Royal Trust for Carers

Last updated 24 August 2021