What we know

Most older people will be able to be able to receive palliative care and end-of-life care where they normally live. It is important to recognise that the care needs of people as they approach the end-of-life change. Referral for specialist palliative care may be appropriate for some people to manage severe symptoms, to respond to extreme distress or provide specific care planning support.

What can I do?

Palliative care referral is needs based. If the care needs of the person cannot be managed by the local care team, think about referral.

Specialist palliative care services can have different referral practices. Palliative Care Australia maintains a national directory of palliative care services. You can check their referral criteria and if they have a specific form.

You may also need input from other professionals such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech pathologists, social workers or psychologists. HealthDirect’s Service Finder can help you identify local providers.

Remember the Aged Care Single Framework standard 4 refers to supports for daily living including referrals to individuals, other organsiations and providers of other care and services

Support referral to local services including allied health via the chronic disease management program and under the Better Access to Mental Health Care Initiative.


What can I learn?

The Advance Project provides training for General Practice Nurses in recognising and assessing palliative care needs in primary care.

The palliAGED Education section has many different learning options for aged care staff.



What can my organisation do?

A Needs Assessment Tool: Progressive Disease (NAT: PD) (128kb pdf) can help determine if referral may be useful.

The Advance Project helps general practice nurses get involved with advance care planning and palliative care. Tell your staff about it.

Most palliative care services will have a referral sheet. Find your local palliative care service.

Page updated 24 April 2020