Needs Assessment

What we know

The ageing of the population and the increases in the prevalence of cancer and other chronic diseases that accompany ageing, are driving an increased need for palliative care services. Needs assessment forms an important part of palliative care in all settings and can improve their quality of life of adults with dementia or those who are at end-of-life. Needs assessments can help to identify what clients or residents and their families consider important and where they need help and support. Recognition of the individual needs of palliative care patients and their family members forms the basis of individualised care.

What can I do?

You can use these tools to assess needs of the person and their carers or family members:

You can pass on to clients, residents and their families the booklet: Supporting a person who needs palliative care - A guide for families and friends (3rd edition 2017).

Remember, needs assessment is a requirement of providing care that is in life with a persons' needs, goals and preferences as outlined in Standard 3 of the Aged Care Single Framework.

Watch the ELDAC video Residential Aged Care - Assess Palliative Care Needs or Home Care - Assess Palliative Care Needs.


What can my organisation do?

To enhance the care of clients and resident, consider including needs assessment particularly
  • as part of admission or the initial consultation
  • at times of significant change such as a
    • significant decline or deterioration
    • change in family/social support
    • change in functional status
  • at the beginning of the terminal phase
  • to provide, where relevant, grief and bereavement support to clients and residents and their families.

There are a number of major projects that can support aged care with needs assessment. These include: Advance, ELDAC, Caring@home, CarerHelp (in future), PHN greater choice Program, PEPA.

Page updated 24 April 2020