National Palliative Care Projects

The Australian Government funds a range of national palliative care projects primarily focused on education, training, quality improvement and advance care planning.

Page last updated: 30 June 2017

Commonwealth funding for current national palliative care grant activities concluded on 30 June 2017. New activities will be announced and added to this page in the future.

The Palliative Care Education and Training Collaborative

The Palliative Care Education and Training Collaborative, is a national project led by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), and consists of the Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA) program and the Palliative Care Curriculum for Undergraduates (PCC4U) project.

Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA)

PEPA aims to enhance the capacity of health professionals to deliver a palliative care approach by providing palliative care workplace training opportunities (via clinical placements) and workshops for a range of health care professionals, including nurses, allied health professionals, Aboriginal health workers, general practitioners and other health care workers. PEPA also provides national workshops and newsletters for aged care workers. For more information about PEPA placements and workshops please contact the PEPA manager in your state or territory. These contacts, along with more detailed information about the project, are available from the PEPA website.

Palliative Care Curriculum for Undergraduates (PCC4U)

PCC4U aims to further improve the skills and confidence the generalist workforce to work with people with palliative care needs by:
  • promoting and sustaining the inclusion of the role of palliative care and its principles and practice in the care of dying people in all health care training;
  • supporting the inclusion of palliative care education as an integral part of all medical, nursing and allied health undergraduate training, and ongoing professional development;
  • informing a whole of workforce approach to palliative care education in all health education and training; and
  • providing a platform for innovation and research in palliative care education across the health care professions.

Since inception, the project has developed, trialled and evaluated palliative care learning resources for incorporation into medical, nursing and allied health undergraduate curricula.

QUT is currently extending PCC4U into relevant programs in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Sector and health care settings, for regulated and unregulated health providers.

More information is available on the Palliative Care Curriculum for Undergraduates website.

Palliative Care Training and Information Online Portal (formerly COMPAC Guidelines Online Training)

An online education and training package is available to assist health workers, including general practitioners, nurses and care workers to implement the principles of the Guidelines for a Palliative Approach for Aged Care in the Community Setting (COMPAC Guidelines).

Participants have the ability to apply for continued professional development points and recognition of prior learning.

As part of the Palliative Care Training and Information Online Portal project, the Australian Hospitals and Healthcare Association (AHHA) have developed and established a comprehensive, innovative and accessible online information and training portal. This will be aimed at frontline palliative care workers.

The free online training program is available on the Palliative Care Online website.

Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC)

PCOC consists of a consortium of four universities led by the Australian Health Services Research Institute at the University of Wollongong.

PCOC provides a national network for palliative care services to assist with the collection of information and reporting patient outcomes. PCOC supports services to consistently compare and measure the quality of their services in order to facilitate a process of continuous service improvement.

This is achieved through:

  • education, training and support to services in the use of data to improve service quality, including information technology training, establishment or modification;
  • collaborating with participating services to analyse benchmarking results and quality data; and
  • contributing to the development of a culture of continuous quality improvement.

More information is available on the Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration website.

Palliative Care Australia

Palliative Care Australia (PCA) is the peak national organisation for palliative care and end-of-life issues in Australia. The Australian Government provides funding to PCA for infrastructure support and operational activities.

PCA will continue to:

  • inform and contribute to the development of palliative care public policy in Australia;
  • consult and collaborate with the palliative care sector and the wider Australian community on palliative care and end-of-life issues;
  • promote increased awareness of palliative care across the Australian community through information development and dissemination; and
  • undertake the national palliative care standards program.

Respecting Patient Choices

The Respecting Patient Choices (RPC) project aims to ensure patients’ choices about their end-of-life care are respected. In doing so, RPC aims to develop a program for advance care planning (ACP) promotion and capacity building that can be implemented nationally.

RPC focuses on developing systems of training, clinical practices, and policies for effective advance care planning. RPC is currently:

  • developing resources aimed at improving awareness of and engagement with ACP for people from non-English speaking backgrounds;
  • providing national ACP support for consumers and health workers by further developing evidence-based practice through research, information sharing and promotion of ACP; and
  • training health care workers caring for people with dementia in how to have an ACP conversation.

The project will improve the quality and effectiveness of end-of-life care by providing patients with a mechanism for discussing and recording their choices about health care in an advance care plan.

For more information on advance care planning, visit the Department's Advance Care Planning webpage.

Paediatric Palliative Care National Education and Quality Improvement Collaborative

The Australian Government is funding the Children’s Health Queensland Hospital Health Service (CHQHHS) to undertake the Paediatric Palliative Care National Education and Quality Improvement Collaborative project.

The project aims to build the capacity of local health professionals to provide palliative care to children and support to families, and improve the quality of paediatric palliative care services across all Australian jurisdictions.

The CHQHHS have coordinated the development and delivery of an educational portfolio to educate health professionals in acute and community based services (both government and non-government), Indigenous and Islander communities, and regional/remote hospitals in the area of paediatric palliative care.

Listen, Acknowledge, Respond

integratedliving Australia and Charles Sturt University are being funded to deliver projects focussed on person-centred palliative care, and bench-marking of skills.

The Listen Acknowledge, Respond project consists of three elements:

  • Listen, Acknowledge, Respond: Developing sector skills for a new paradigm in palliative care;
  • Towards True Community Care: Benchmarking a new paradigm in treatment; and
  • Creating Cost Effective Care: A comparative analysis.

Combined, these activities seek to identify and build the capability of allied health, social and other health care workers to support end-of-life care needs for people with life limiting illness.

The project will provide specialist training for up to 800 health care professionals nationally; measure changes in confidence and skill levels of professionals who participate in training; measure the perception of care improvements for patients and their care givers; and analyse the costs of care delivered under the new model and compare these to traditional treatment pathways.

ACPTalk- Online Religious and Culturally Sensitive Advance Care Planning

Cabrini Health is funded to strengthen the understanding and uptake of advance care planning across the palliative care sector by developing an advance care planning online resource, with consideration of various religious and cultural denominations, to assist in end-of-life decision making. This has been undertaken in consultation with religious, cultural and national palliative care organisations.

More information can be found on the ACPTalk website.

Palliative Care Data Analysis and Reporting - Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)

The AIHW is funded to undertake palliative care data collection, analysis and reporting activities to support the identification of quality improvements that can assist in improving the delivery of palliative care services across Australia.

As part of this Project, the AIHW produces the Palliative Care Services in Australia (PCSiA) report, an online html publication, which provides an innovative “one-stop-shop” of national palliative care information that is useful to a broad range of stakeholders.

The Australian Palliative Care Knowledge Network – CareSearch

Flinders University South Australia is funded to establish, host and maintain the CareSearch website.

The website provides information resources for researchers and palliative care specialists, along with information for patients and their families, carers, general practitioners, other health care professionals and the general public. The site covers topics on specific diseases, finding support and help and self-care for caregivers.

CareSearch provides online resources and tools to:

  • encourage communication and interaction;
  • link to other online resources;
  • support education and learning;
  • contribute to research; and
  • help families and carers manage their issues and concerns.

End-of-life Care in Acute Settings

Flinders University is also funded to improve service provider skill development through the delivery of end-of-life ESSENTIALS, which provides e-learning opportunities and resources for doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to improve the quality and safety of end-of-life care in hospitals. The resources were developed in conjunction with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC).

The Palliative Care Clinical Studies Collaborative (PaCCSC)

Flinders University of South Australia is funded to coordinate PaCCSC- a research infrastructure comprising a number of partner agencies, which are collaboratively involved in undertaking clinical medication studies. The aims of PaCCSC is to:

  • develop an efficient and effective method of generating research data that will support the listing of palliative care medicines on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG);
  • build the research capacity of the palliative care sector so that ongoing clinical medication studies can occur; and
  • build the evidence base to support the ongoing implementation of studies on medicine use and quality practice in palliative care.

Online Toolkit for Carers and Practitioners Helping People with Intellectual Disability Understand Dying and Death

The University of Sydney is being funded to develop the Online Toolkit for Carers and Practitioners Helping People with Intellectual Disability Understand Dying and Death. The Toolkit aims to provide carers and practitioners with information, evidence, resources and confidence to discuss dying and death with people with intellectual disabilities. It will also provide practical resources to enable intellectual disability service providers to develop end of life policies that meet the needs of clients, families and disability staff and individual planning tools to enable people with intellectual disabilities to express their wishes about their end of life care.

The toolkit is expected to be launched in early 2018.

Advance: Initiating Palliative Care and Advance Care Planning: Training and Resources for General Practice Nurses

HammondCare is funded to develop a training package for Practice Nurses to undertake screening of patients across Australia regarding their awareness of advance care planning (ACP), their symptoms, areas of concern, and carers and family’s needs.

It is hoped that the Advance project will result in earlier consideration and uptake of ACP and allow for more efficient use of General Practitioner time. This will lead to more timely and appropriate referrals to specialist palliative care services, if required.

HammondCare work in collaboration with other National Palliative Care Project providers, universities, governing bodies and associations to develop, promote and encourage uptake of the training package across Australia.