Aged Care Standard 4 and supporting the goals at the end of life

Aged Care Standard 4 and supporting the goals at the end of life


Aged Care Standard 4 highlights the importance of providing services and support that can help the older person manage their daily life and achieve their goals, including at the end of life. We discuss palliAGED resources that can help you and your organisation look at how to support living even while approaching death. 

Standard 4: Services and Supports for Daily Living

Older people are actively involved in life even if they have challenges in their health and their abilities. Standard 4 looks at how services and supports for daily living can enable consumers to live as independently as possible and enjoy life. These services and supports can relate to domestic help, food and daily activities as well as services and activities to support social and community life.

Delivering services and supports to improve a consumer’s well-being and quality of life requires a consumer-centred approach that understands who the person is, what they need, and what is meaningful to them. The aged care service may not directly provide all these services and supports but does have a role in helping the consumer access needed services and supports.

Daily Living at the End of Life

For many older Australians, changes associated with the end of life can be anticipated. This means there is the opportunity to ensure that the person has supports and services to maintain emotional, spiritual and psychological well-being and to support their continued engagement in family, community and daily living. Timely and appropriate referrals are also important.

Our latest palliAGED Aged Care Standards insight looks at living well until the end of life.

palliAGED Resources for Standard 4

Maintaining function and independence, autonomy and dignity are all important to older people even in the end of life context. There are a range of palliAGED resources that can provide information and support knowledge and training. Many of these resources including learning opportunities for careworkers and nursing staff and organisational suggestions.

Advance care planning

Advance care planning helps the older person to identify what they want at the end of life and helps the service know and share what is important in providing this care. Aside from a document that can help guide clinical care if the person can no longer speak for themselves, the process can build understanding about values, wishes and preferences. There is an evidence overview on advance care planning as well as practice resources in palliAGED.


Older people should be able to receive palliative care and end of life care where they normally live. The Practice Centre Referral page covers a range of different resources that can be considered. Allied health can play an important part in assessing needs and suggesting equipment and services that enable continuing participation in daily living and support functional independence.

Dignity and Quality of Life

Supporting dignity and function can help older people to maximise quality of life even during decline. There is an evidence page and practice tips on dignity and quality of life. Ideas on social support and spiritual care are also available.

Environmental Modifications

Ensuring the environment has been adapted for changing needs is an important part of Standard 4. Suggestions for the end of life context can be found in the evidence centre and the practice points.

"I get the services and supports for daily living that are important for my health and well-being and that enable me to do the things I want to do."

Consumer outcome statement for Aged Care Standard 4. Source: Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission website
The use of this image does not constitute an endorsement by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission of palliAGED activities.

Read some of our Palliative Perspectives blogs related to aged care and end of life:

The ELDAC Home Care Toolkit: Resources to manage dying at home

Professor Deborah Parker and Dr Holly Mack discuss how the ELDAC Home Care Toolkit can support dying at home.

Making it different for everyone

Robyn McLean of Benetas Eaglehawk discusses the importance of providing individualised care and of listening to the needs and preferences of residents in order to support the quality of life.


Trajectories of functional decline at the end of life. What do they tell us?

Dr Deidre Morgan of Flinders University discusses how understanding the trajectories of functional decline at the end of life can help us to plan what, where and when resources should be allocated to support optimal care.

Dancing Between Two Rooms: Social Workers Engaging with People as they Live with Dying

Jan Obery of the Central Adelaide Palliative Care Services outlines the important work of social workers who accompany people at end of life.


Palliative care central to person-centred aged care

CareSearch Director Professor Jennifer Tieman discusses some of the issues involved in ensuring that there is holistic care for older Australians receiving aged care services coming to the end of their life.


The importance of communication in palliative care

Aged Care Complaints Commissioner's Clinical Unit Director Jan McGregor discusses why breakdowns in communication between services and families are among the most difficult complaints to resolve.


Page created 22 January 2020