4. Research and quality improvement for palliative care services
This page describes how the Australian Government, under the National Palliative Care Program, is supporting palliative care research and service quality improvement
High quality research underpins all aspects of health care. To provide the best possible care, it is essential to determine the circumstances in which healthcare provision works.
The Australian Government has invested heavily in research into palliative care and quality improvement.
National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Palliative Care Research ProgramFunding has been allocated through the National Palliative Care for the NHMRC collaborative research program in palliative care. This research program provides grants, scholarships and fellowships to improve palliative care research capacity and the evidence base for good palliative care practice. More information on the program is available at: www.nhmrc.gov.au
Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC)To ensure improved access to and quality of palliative care, it is important that palliative care services are able to measure standards of care and outcomes for people with a life-limiting illness, their families and carers.
The Australian Government has provided funding for the Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC) – a consortium of four universities led by the Centre for Health Services Development at the University of Wollongong. The consortium is divided into the following four zones:
- Centre for Health Service Development, University of Wollongong (PCOC Central)
- Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology (PCOC North)
- Western Australian Centre for Cancer and Palliative Care, Curtin University of Technology (PCOC West)
- Department of Palliative and Supportive Services, Flinders University (PCOC South)
- 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 on analysis and data, including the development of data subsets that will be the basis of benchmarking; and
- a program of continuous improvement.
Palliative Care National Standards Assessment ProgramPalliative Care Australia, the sector’s peak body, has been funded to manage the National Standards Assessment Program (NSAP). The NSAP is a national framework for continuous quality improvement, which will enable specialist palliative care services to undertake consistent self-assessment against the national Standards for providing quality palliative care for all Australians.
The standards are aimed at enhancing workforce skills, improving coordination across the continuum of care and developing and implementing best practice.
The project is developing tools and processes to measure and review activities, including streamlining and aligning self assessment and peer review activities with both existing accreditation mechanisms and developments in accreditation principles and programs proposed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.
The project will be implemented over three and a half years, from 2007 – 2010.
More information is available on the PCA website at: www.palliativecare.org.au
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has been involved in the development, annual data collection and reporting on high-level performance indicators designed to inform national and local activities. AIHW has also released its report into the development and trial of community-based client data collection, to ensure the use of nationally agreed definitions and mechanisms in collecting and measuring palliative care information.
Two reports, on the performance indicators and the development of the community-based client data collection, are available from the AIHW website. The report of the findings of the 2007 national collection of performance indicators was published in June 2008 and is available on the AIHW website at: www.aihw.gov.au
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- Primary Health Strategy
- Australian Primary Care Collaboratives Program (APCCP)
- The Australian Government's National Palliative Care Program
- Overview of the Divisions of General Practice Program