Palliative Care Australia has launched a national program to help services providing specialist care to people at the end of life.

The National Standards Assessment Program is a framework designed to help palliative care providers adhere to a set of national standards.

It provides tools to develop and implement targeted action plans for continuous improvement.

The program also builds on the views and opinions of patients, their families and carers of palliative care.

“Specialist palliative care services deliver excellent care,” said the President of Palliative Care Australia, Professor Margaret O’Connor.

“However, today, we cannot in good faith promise that all patients at the end of their lives will always have access to care that is customised to their preferences and reliably delivers good pain and symptom control.”

A pilot of the program involving a fifth of Australia’s palliative care services identified room for improvement in communication with families, advanced care planning and managing home deaths.

Over 90 per cent of providers involved in the pilot reported that they were successful in providing continuity of care, referrals, safety and culturally appropriate care to their clients.

The program will now be rolled out to 147 palliative care services across the country.

Palliative Care Australia hopes to develop the program for other health and care settings, including aged care.

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