Essential Component 2
There are discussions about palliative and end of life care and planning for future goals and needs

Having end of life conversations can be difficult for everyone

Why is this an Essential Component?

Evidence for inclusion

Discussions about end of life issues and planning for care can be difficult for clinicians to initiate. These discussions are multifaceted and take into consideration a range of goals.

Research on end of life decision-making has identified six major types of patient goals:

  • to be cured
  • to live longer
  • to improve or maintain function and/or quality of life
  • to be comfortable
  • to achieve life goals
  • and to provide support for family and caregivers (Kaldjian et al, 2008).

There is also evidence that advance care planning positively impacts on the quality of end of life care. Complex advance care planning interventions involving multiple conversations and planning tools over time may be more effective in meeting patients’ preferences than written documents alone (Brinkman-Stoppelenburg et al, 2014).

Intended beneficial outcomes

  • Patients, families and carers are well-informed about their illness and treatment options.
  • Goals for patient, family and carers are defined, appropriately documented and actioned.
  • Care providers across all settings are skilled in engaging with patients, families and carers on end of life discussions and setting goals of care.
  • There is space and time for patients, families and carers to articulate their fears about prognosis, care and treatment options.
  • Advance care planning is undertaken and documented.
  • Advance Care Plans are regularly reviewed.
  • Preferred place of care and death is articulated, documented and actioned.
  • Enhanced community awareness leads to a better understanding and ability to engage in conversations regarding end of life.
Having end of life conversations can be difficult for everyone

What tools/resources could support the implementation of this component?

The Agency for Clinical Innovation commissioned CareSearch (Palliative and Supportive Services, Flinders University) to identify local, national and international tools or resources that can potentially be used to implement each of the ten (10) Essential Components of Care within the Blueprint.

To be included, tools and resources were required to be in English, be applicable to the Australian context and be supported by evidence (such as published validation studies, clinical guidelines representing expert consensus, or advice from expert clinicians who were consulted).

The set of tools and resources provided is not intended to be exhaustive, nor is any one tool specifically recommended. Click here for more information on the methodology adopted by CareSearch in identifying these tools and resources.

Core Palliative Care Tools

Core Resources