Care should be based on the assessed needs of people approaching the end of life, their carers and families, rather than on diagnosis, age or prognosis.
Working to address these assessed needs can support people and their families to remain in their preferred place of care for as long as possible.
Ensuring that care is provided on the basis of assessed need, rather than diagnosis or prognosis ensures that health and social resources are used efficiently and effectively.
Ensuring that all people who are at risk of unmet needs as they approach the end of life receive care in accordance with the use of validated assessment tools improves patient outcomes and experience.
The NSW Government Plan to Increase Access to Palliative Care 2012 – 2016 (NSW Ministry of Health, 2012) highlights that “Gaps in assessment skills and referral processes often mean that the recognition that a person is dying does not occur until very late in their life, leaving them and their family and carers very little time to come to terms with the approaching death and denying them the time to consider options such as dying at home.”
The delivery of needs-based care reduces unnecessary burden and distress on patients, their carers and families.