Publication Details

S. F. Allingham, S. Bird & M. Banfield, PCOC National Report on Outcomes in Palliative Care in Australia July to December 2011 (Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration, Australian Health Services Research Institute, University of Wollongong, 2012).


The Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC) was established in mid-2005 and is funded under the National Palliative Care Program supported by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. The goal of the PCOC is to use standardised, validated, clinical assessment tools to benchmark and measure outcomes in palliative care; and assist palliative care services to improve the quality of care. Further information on the tools can be found at www.pcoc.org.au. Each service involved in PCOC submits data every six months. The data are then collated and fed back to services to inform service improvement. Participation in PCOC is voluntary. There are three levels of data items - patient, episode and phase. The broad detail is found at the patient level, where the data items look at patient demographics. At the episode level, the items focus on characterising each setting of palliative care. They also describe the reasons behind why and how palliative care episodes start/end, the level of support patients receive both before and after an episode and (where applicable) the setting in which the patient died. The clinical focus of the data is at the phase level. The items at this level describe the patient's stage of illness, functional impairment as well as their levels of pain and symptom distress. The items at the phase level are used to quantify patient outcomes, and are the focus of the PCOC benchmarks. The current PCOC data set (Version 2) was introduced in July 2007 following consultation with palliative care services and approval by PCOC's Scientific and Clinical Advisory Committee. The data set includes five clinical assessment tools: Phases of Care, Palliative Care Problem Severity Score (PCPSS), Symptom Assessment Scale (SAS), Australia-modified Karnofsky Performance Status Scale (AKPS) and Resource Utilisation Groups - Activities of Daily Living (RUG-ADL). The items included in the PCOC data set serve the dual purpose of: - defining a common clinical language to allow communication between palliative care providers - facilitating the routine collection of national palliative care data for the purpose of reporting and benchmarking to drive quality improvement. Revised phase definitions were implemented in January 2012 but the data in this report does not reflect the revised definitions.