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Data relating to hospice care units across public hospitals are derived from the National Public Hospital Establishments Database (NPHED). Data for private hospitals, including facilities and specialised services for acute and psychiatric hospitals, are derived from the Private Health Establishments Collection, which is sourced from an annual survey collecting information relating to private hospital activities in Australia (ABS 2016). For further details on the NPHED database please see the data sources section.

Hospice units in public hospitals

A hospice care unit is a specialist unit delivering palliative care services and can include both free-standing facilities and wards within a hospital. However, hospices are identified differently in the NPHED across states and territories. Although palliative care services may be delivered in a range of settings, numbers of hospice care units are reported in this section due to their specialised role in palliative care delivery. In addition, the information derived from the NPHED does not include all hospice services in Australia; for example, private health-care providers/hospitals providing hospice care services are not in scope of the NPHED.

In 2014–15, a total of 123 public acute hospitals nationally reported having a hospice care unit. This represents 1 in 6 (18.1%) of the 678 public acute hospitals (excluding public psychiatric hospitals) in Australia. Just over one-third (35.8%) of hospitals with a hospice care unit were located in New South Wales (Figure APC.7). One-quarter (25.2%) of public acute hospitals in Major cities had a hospice care unit, 1 in 6 (17.5%) in Regional and 1 in 10 (10.5%) in Remote area hospitals.

Figure APC.7: Public acute hospitals with hospice care units, states and territories, 2014–15

Vertical bar chart showing the number of public acute hospitals with hospice care units by jurisdiction. NSW 44, Vic 25, Qld 9, WA 34, SA 8, Tas 1, ACT 1, NT 1. Refer to Table APC.22.  

Source: NHMD, AIHW

Source data: Admitted patient palliative care and hospital-based facilities (587KB XLS).

How has the number of hospice units varied over time across states and territories?

The number of public acute hospitals with hospice care units fluctuated during the period 2010–11 to 2014–15. There was a 16 unit decrease in the number of public acute hospitals with hospice care units from 2010–11 to 2011–12 with New South Wales accounting for the majority of the decrease (11 units). The number increased again in 2012–13, to 129 units, and decreased to 124 and 123 units in 2013–14 and 2014–15 respectively (Table APC.22).

Private acute and psychiatric hospitals

There were 282 private acute and psychiatric hospitals nationally in 2014–15. Of these, 22 (7.8%) had hospice units recorded. The average total number of hospice unit beds available nationally was 201, with an estimated 58,948 patient days and an average length of stay of 9.4 days (ABS 2016) (Table APC.23).


ABS 2016. Private hospitals, Australia 2014–15. ABS Cat. No. 4390.0. Canberra: ABS.