The aged care context in Australia recognises consumer choice with regard to place of care and choice of care. There is an increasing economic evidence base around the effectiveness of palliative care practices but the costs and benefits associated with settings of care, types of care provision and equity between groups is still uncertain.
Informal care provided by family is a significant contribution at the national level.  The data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reveals that there are many pathways of use for aged care and palliative care resources for older Australians. Each of these could have particular cost implications. 
There is a growing evidence base around the economics and costs associated with palliative care provision. This has mainly been around the costs and benefits of palliative care as a treatment option and palliative care provision in the community. The data suggested that palliative care may reduce costs without a reduction in quality of care. [1-3] It is unclear whether benefits apply across all groups with palliative care needs. The costs incurred by families while caregiving have not been as well documented and reviewed. [1-3] Further work is needed to understand the economics associated with hospital avoidance, advance care planning and medical futility.
Most of the evidence relates to palliative care provision with few reviews directly focusing on older people and much of the available data is inconclusive. [1,2,5-7] There is much less known about the implications of the aged care setting. Given the particular characteristics of funding in this industry, research is needed that explores the economics of palliative care approaches to care for older Australians.
Overall, the quality of the reviews was good.
Page updated 27 May 2021