Essential Component 7
Access to specialist palliative care
when needs are complex

Specialist palliative care services provide care for patients with complex or complicated needs

Why is this an Essential Component?

Evidence for Inclusion

Providing strategic links between specialist palliative care services and other care providers across all settings ensures that all people can access the level of care appropriate to their needs.

Specialist palliative care services support and complement the care provided across all settings, and are an essential component of a high quality and safe system of care for people who are approaching and reaching the end of their life.  These specialist palliative care services provide care for patients with complex or unstable symptoms or meet other high level needs associated with a life-limiting illness (Palliative Care Australia, 2005). Ensuring that all people in NSW have access to this level of care through timely, coordinated and formal relationships and integrated processes is an essential component of any model for service provision. 

Specialist palliative care services have a role in research and in knowledge generation and dissemination (NSW Health, 2007) and require funding and support to make this contribution to support overall improvement in the quality of service delivery and outcomes.

Intended Beneficial Outcomes

  • All people in NSW have access to services and health professionals that have the necessary skills and expertise to meet their needs.
  • A networked approach to care (referral, education, data and research) connects specialist palliative care services with other care providers across all care settings.
  • Best available evidence informs clinical practice.
  • Care providers across all settings know when and how to access specialist palliative care services.
  • Shared care arrangements are fostered between specialist palliative care providers and other care providers across all settings.
  • Unplanned hospital admissions are reduced.
  • Specialist palliative care services are resourced to provide networked support across the system.
  • Ongoing access to specialist palliative care services is based on regular assessment of need and adapts to these accordingly.
Specialist palliative care services provide care for patients with complex or complicated needs

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