Needs-based end of life care is a quality management approach that evaluates the individual needs of the patients and their families and carers and coordinates appropriate care.
The end of life needs of many patients are appropriately met by primary care (generalist, and other specialist and support care) providers with specialist palliative care providers contributing direct, indirect care or consultation advice as required.
This approach recognizes that patients with more complex needs may require periodic or ongoing direct care from specialist palliative care providers.
It is proposed that all people with a life limiting illness (including their carer(s), family and community) be conceptualised as falling within three broad sub-groups, based on the complexity of their needs.
: is the largest sub-group; is those patients who do not require access to specialist care to meet their needs which are met either through their own resources or with the support of primary care providers
: is those patients who may have a temporary increase in their level of need and may require access to specialist palliative care services for consultation and advice.
They will continue to receive care from their primary care provider.
: this is likely to be the smallest sub-group; is those patients who have the greatest needs - those with complex physical, social, psychological and/or spiritual needs that do not respond to simple or established protocols of care - that usually require highly individualised care plans developed, implemented and evaluated by knowledgeable and skilled specialist practitioners, in partnership with primary care providers
A Guide to Palliative Care Service Development: A population based approach
See figure 1: Conceptual model of level of need within the population of patients with a life limiting illness.
Palliative Care Australia. A Guide to Palliative Care Service Development: a population based approach. Internet. Accessed on July 5, 2016.