Aged Care

Advocates urge palliative care funding boost in upcoming budget


With Australia’s 2024 Federal Budget approaching, Palliative Care Australia (PCA) urges practical investments to improve at-home services for people with life-limiting illnesses.

PCA says supporting palliative treatment and daily living assistance at home can enhance quality of life while reducing unnecessary hospitalisations.

PCA’s budget submission outlines priority proposals informed by nationwide consultations. A key focal area is bolstering support for two vulnerable groups – people under 65, including disabled individuals and older people requiring aged care.

PCA CEO Camilla Rowland notes escalating reports of under-65s with terminal diagnoses being denied access to palliative and disability support for home-based care. With jurisdictional gaps leaving many to fall through the cracks, people face untenable choices between hospitalisation, out-of-pocket costs or reliance on family caregivers.

To address the issue, PCA calls for an interim federal program offering in-home assistance – including palliative services – for this cohort. It suggests A$77.6 million over three years as governments explore long-term solutions aligned with the NDIS Review.

For over-65s, PCA stresses aligning aged care and palliative care. It wants guaranteed assessments for new aged care residents to proactively address needs. The group also seeks extended federal funding for an existing linkage program between palliative expertise and the aged care system.

Additionally, PCA advocates nationwide analysis of after-hours palliative care availability. Identifying access gaps can empower strategic coordination of referral pathways and emergency alternatives.

“Every dollar invested in palliative care at home delivers a 100% return on investment – keeping people out of hospital and providing quality of life for people with life-limiting illnesses, their loved ones and carers,” Rowland said.

“The actions we have outlined in our submission to the Health Minister and Treasury come from consultation with our members in every state and territory, we see this as a plan for meeting the increasing need for palliative care which is on track to double before 2050.” 

With palliative needs projected to double amidst ageing and rising chronic illness, PCA presents the investments as both a moral and fiscal imperative.

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