Report

Description

Summary

This report on Australian palliative care services is the third 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 and other data sources.

Service provision

There were 57,614 palliative care-related separations from public and private hospitals in Australia in 2011-12, with patients aged 75 and over accounting for half (49.1%) of these. There was a 52% increase in palliative care-related separations between 2002-03 and 2011-12.

In 2011-12, palliative care-related separations accounted for 0.6% of all separations, but more than 39.5% of patients who died as an admitted patient had been a palliative care patient during their final separation. Approximately 17,200 palliative care patients died with cancer as a principal diagnosis.

There were just over 226,000 permanent residential aged care residents in 2012-13 with completed Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) assessments; almost 1 in 18 of these residents had an ACFI assessment indicating the need for palliative care during this reporting period.

Resources and outcomes

Nationally, about 11,700 patients received a palliative medicine specialist service subsidised through the Medicare Benefits Schedule during 2012-13, for which approximately

$4.7 million was paid in benefits. Over the 5 years to 2012-13, the benefits paid for all palliative medicine specialist services more than doubled.

Nationally, more than 19,500 patients had a palliative care-related prescription subsidised through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme during 2012-13. This equates to a rate of 85.2 patients per 100,000 population. The medication type laxatives were the palliative care-related prescriptions most often dispensed in 2012-13, followed by analgesics and anti-epileptics (37.3%, 26.6% and 14.2%, respectively).

Specialist palliative medicine physicians made up nearly 5 in 1,000 (0.53%) employed medical specialists in Australia, with an estimated 148 working in Australia in 2012. In 2012, over half (56.5%) of employed specialist palliative medicine physicians were female; only 26.8% of other employed clinician specialists were female.

There were 106 specialist palliative care service providers that reported to the Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC) in 2013-a decrease of 2 services since 2012. More than 31,500 patients accessed specialist palliative care services in 2013, an increase of 3.6% from 2012 (30,405). Around two-thirds (66.3%) of all PCOC contributing providers met benchmark 1, where 90% of patients had their episode start on the day of, or the day after, the date ready for care.

Publication Details
Identifiers: 
isbn: 
978-1-74249-634-4
License Type: 
CC BY
Published year only: 
2014
154
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