Essential Component 8
Quality care during the last days of life

Quality care in the last days of life is safe, effective, responsive and appropriate

Why is this an Essential Component?

Evidence for Inclusion

Health care workers should be skilled in recognising the imminently dying patient and responding safely and appropriately to the particular needs of that person, their carers and families. They should also have the skills to explain clearly and sensitively that a person may be imminently dying to that person, their family and carers, in a way that is appropriate to their circumstances.

Being unaware that a loved one may be imminently dying can compound the distress and subsequent grief felt by families and carers, after what they may perceive to have been the sudden death of their loved one (LACDP, 2014).

Timely recognition that a person may be imminently dying and clear communication of that possibility enables goals of care to be discussed and a plan of care developed, implemented and reviewed so care can be responsive to the changing needs and preferences of the patient, their family and carer.

Resourcing should ensure that safe and high quality care can be provided across all care settings and that regular communication between the patient, their family and carers occurs.

Intended Beneficial Outcomes

  • Timely recognition of the imminently dying person occurs.
  • Quality care in the last days of life is safe, effective, responsive and appropriate.
  • Care is provided in the most appropriate environment as close to home as possible in accordance with the needs of patients and in consultation with them, their families and carers.
  • Patients, families and carers are provided with information and support.
  • Care plans are developed, implemented and reviewed regularly to support people who are imminently dying, their families and carers.
  • Preventable transfer of patients who are imminently dying is avoided.
  • Patients and care providers across all settings have access to 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week support.
Quality care in the last days of life is safe, effective, responsive and appropriate

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

Additional Tools for Specific Populations

Additional Resources for Specific Populations

Core Palliative Care Resources