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Posted on 05 May 2021
Health status of Victorians

Last month VAHI released our most recent report of the Victorian Population Health Survey (VPHS) - End of life and palliative care: a community perspective.

The report provides a unique and valuable source of information focusing on end of life and palliative care in Victoria. In particular, the report provides a 'pulse check' (and baseline) with the community to gauge the level of impact of policy initiatives - in this instance of advance care planning and the concept of caring for someone at home.

In 2017, questions were added to the VPHS questionnaire on end of life and palliative care. This was to gain an understanding of the uptake of end of life and palliative care plans in the community and to measure the informal support that is provided to people with life limiting Illness who were living at home. The information contained in the report supports priority areas in Victoria's end of life and palliative care framework 2016.

The survey also looked at who Victorians spoke with in developing their end of life plans and will monitor changes over time. Making future care wishes known to health care providers improves shared decision making and increases the opportunities to meet people’s care choices.

The report highlights that people were more likely to develop a plan after consultation with family (20%) than after consultation with a general practitioner/health professional (3%). This confirms the key partnership that carers and families play in improving outcomes for people at the end of life. It also highlights the additional opportunities to drive uptake of advance care planning within healthcare settings.

Summary of findings:

End of life or palliative care plan

·         72.9% of adults had no end of life or palliative care plan.

·         A significantly higher proportion of men (74.6%) did not have an end of life care or palliative care plan, compared with the proportion in women (71.2%).

·         One in five adults had made an end of life care or palliative care plan after consultation with their family. Most of these adults were 55 years of age or older.

·         Almost 8% of adults had a formal written end of life care or palliative care plan.

·         Men aged 65 years or older were more likely than men of any other age group to have made an end of life or palliative care plan after speaking with their general practitioner or other health professional.

·         Women aged 75 years or older were more likely than women of any other age group to have made an end of life or palliative care plan after speaking with their general practitioner or other health professional.

The report can be accessed via the BetterSaferCare website.

If you have any questions about the report or the VPHS, contact Loretta Vaughan, Manager of the Victorian Population Health Survey via loretta.vaughan@vahi.vic.gov.au.

Page last updated: 05 May 2021