Report

Description

Summary

This report on Australian palliative care services is the second in this series. It provides detailed information on the national response to the palliative care needs of Australians using a range of Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and other national data sources.

Service provision

There were 54,466 palliative care-related separations from public and private hospitals in Australia in 2010–11, with patients aged 75 years and over accounting for nearly half (49.5%) of these. There was a 49% increase in palliative care-related separations between 2001–02 and 2010–11.

In 2010–11, palliative care separations accounted for 0.6% of all separations, but 37.2% of patients who died as an admitted patient had been a palliative care patient during their final separation. Approximately 16,500 palliative care patients died with cancer as a principal diagnosis.

There were just over 221,000 permanent residential aged care residents in 2011–12 with completed Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) assessments; almost 1 in 20 of these residents had an ACFI assessment indicating the need for palliative care during this reporting period.

Resources and outcomes

Nationally, about 9,600 patients received a palliative medicine specialist service subsidised through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) during 2011–12 for which approximately $3.5 million was paid in benefits. Over the 5 years to 2011–12 benefits paid for all palliative medicine specialist services has more than doubled.

Nationally, more than 19,000 patients had a palliative care–related prescription subsidised through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) during 2011–12, which equates to a rate of 85.8 patients per 100,000 population. The medication type laxatives were the most frequently dispensed palliative care-related prescriptions in 2011–12, followed by analgesics and anti-epileptics (37.3%, 22.2% and 14.5%, respectively).

Specialist palliative medicine physicians made up nearly 4 in every 1,000 (0.38%) employed medical specialists in Australia, with an estimated 92 working in Australia in 2011. In 2011, more than half (56.6%) of employed specialist palliative medicine physicians were female. This was more than double the proportion of all employed female medical practitioners who practice other clinical specialities (25.6%).

There were 108 specialist palliative care services that reported to the Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration in 2012—an increase of 1 service since 2011. More than 30,400 patients accessed specialist palliative care services in 2012, an increase of 11.8% from 2011 (27,201). Just over one-third (36.0%) of services met benchmark 3.2, where 60% of patients in moderate/severe pain at phase start were reduced to absent/mild pain at phase end.

Publication Details
Identifiers: 
isbn: 
978-1-74249-513-2
License Type: 
CC BY
Published year only: 
2013
193
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