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Policy Report

Funding regimes and the implications for delivering quality palliative care nursing within residential aged care units in Australia

Submitted: 4 December 2007
Revised: 17 March 2008
Published: 4 August 2008

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Author(s) : Allen S, O'Connor M, Chapman Y, Francis K.

Sonia AllenMargaret O'ConnorYsanne ChapmanKaren Francis

Citation: Allen S, O'Connor M, Chapman Y, Francis K.  Funding regimes and the implications for delivering quality palliative care nursing within residential aged care units in Australia. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2008; 8: 903. Available: (Accessed 18 October 2017)


Introduction: Background: Funding to Australian residential aged care units has undergone recent reforms. Parallel with these fiscal developments, the Australian Government commissioned the Guidelines for a Palliative Approach in Residential Aged Care that addressed the inequities of service associated with dying in residential aged care. Aims: This literature review describes the variances in funding between Australian residential aged care facilities (RACFs), and multi-purpose services (MPSs) and, in doing so, exposes the impact that funding variances have on the delivery of end-of-life and palliative care to residents in aged care units.
Findings:†Government funding policy allowed RACFs an opportunity to adopt and implement the guidelines and standards, through funding individual resident identified healthcare needs. By comparison, MPSs are funded through an agreed (government and organisation) number of beds to provide nursing care to residents. This funding allocation forms MPSsí general consolidated revenue for service delivery. Key issues: RACFs identify nursing care needs of residents through a residential classification scale, while management of MPSs allocates funding to service provision.
Conclusions:†The significant factor of funding beds (MPS) not the delivery of nursing care required by residents (RACFs) does impact on the implementation of a palliative approach for residents and, hence, the delivery of quality nursing care. Nursing management should consider funding implications when allocating resources to services in MPSs.

Key words:††Australia, funding, multi-purpose service, palliative care, resident classification scale, residential aged care facilities.

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