There are many factors that determine the type of palliative care a person needs and the type of services that they require can change throughout their illness.[1, 2] Palliative Care Australia has defined three broad groups based on the complexity of individual needs for palliative care:
Figure 2: Conceptual model of level of need for palliative care among people living with a life-limiting illness. Source: Palliative Care Australia. (2018) Palliative Care Service Development Guidelines.
A key factor influencing the type of service required by people with life-limiting illnesses is the intensity of their needs.
|Straightforward and predictable needs:
|Intermediate and fluctuating needs:
|Complex and persistent needs:
Key concepts to consider:[1-5]
- All people affected by life-limiting illness have a right to healthcare that is appropriate to their needs
- Not everyone with a life-limiting illness will require access to a specialist palliative care service. For many people, care needs can be met by community and personal resources and the support of primary or aged healthcare services
- As a healthcare professional, you are likely to encounter people in a variety of settings who may benefit from palliative care. All healthcare professionals, therefore, need knowledge and skills in providing this care.
Settings for providing care
People living with a life-limiting illness will need to have palliative care provided in many different settings. These settings can be divided into two broad settings, as represented in the diagram:
Figure 3: Settings for Providing Palliative Care 
- Compare and contrast the different levels of palliative care needs. Can you think of a person you have cared for who had a life-limiting illness and what level of palliative care need they may have had at that time?
- What factors can influence the level of need for palliative care services? Consider:
- Issues associated with a person’s health needs
- The personal resources and strengths they can draw from.
- How might different settings impact on a person’s (and their family’s) palliative care?
- Palliative Care Australia. National Palliative Care Standards. 2018; 5th Edition:[Available from: http://palliativecare.org.au/standards].
- Therapeutic Guidelines Ltd, Overview of Palliative Care. 2018: Melbourne.
- Palliative Care Australia. Palliative Care Service Development Guidelines. 2018; Available from: http://palliativecare.org.au/quality.
- Palliative Care Australia. What is Palliative Care A4 Brochure. 2015 [cited 2019 January 23]; Available from: https://palliativecare.org.au/wp-content/uploads/dlm_uploads/2016/05/What-is-Palliative-Care-A4.pdf
- Palliative Care Australia. What is Palliative Care? 2015 [cited 2019 January 23]; Available from: https://palliativecare.org.au/what-is-palliative-care.