Introducing Palliative Care Case Conferences

A palliative care case conference provides an opportunity to coordinate and plan care for a person who has six months or less to live.

Changing care needs, symptom concerns, family issues and the need for coordination among providers can also signal the need for a case conference.
This is one of the three care processes.

Indicators for a Palliative Care Case Conference

A palliative home care case conference is recommended for older people who the healthcare team estimates have a prognosis of six months or less to live.
One of the first indicators that can provide guidance on when to consider a palliative care case conference is the simple screening question called the 'The Surprise Question':

‘Would I be surprised if the person dies within the next six months?'

If you wouldn't be surprised if the person died in the next few months, consider a case conference.

If the answer to this question isn’t clear, then other things that may prompt consideration of a case conference include:
  • Sudden decline or deterioration in the older person’s health.
  • The older person wishes to clarify how their care needs will be met if they get sicker.
  • The older person and/or their substitute decision maker express a wish to seek comfort care rather than curative disease management.

What a Case Conference is and how it can help

GPs and Case Conferences

Any triggers that have highlighted the need for a case conference should be carefully addressed during the case conference.

Page updated 06 September 2017

palliAGED is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.