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Refer a patient

Referral criteria

The patient has a progressive terminal illness (malignant or non-malignant) and at least one of the following:

  • Symptoms which the primary care team requires further advice to manage optimally
  • Psychosocial needs that require specialist assessment
  • The patient is dying and the primary care team requires further advice or support

Further details

Note: Patients receiving life-prolonging chemotherapy (e.g. palliative chemotherapy) are not excluded from referral to palliative care, i.e. specialist palliative care reviews may occur in patients receiving life-prolonging treatments

Triggers that might lead to a referral include:

  • Recurrent presentations to hospital
  • Progression of disease despite life-prolonging therapy
  • Low probability of success from available therapeutic options
  • Withdrawal or consideration of withdrawal of life prolonging treatment
  • Patient or family concerns about end of life issues
  • Recent marked decline in physical function
  • Difficult to manage symptoms such as pain

Patients who do not meet the referral criteria and should generally not be referred:

  • Chronic pain not associated with a progressive terminal disease
  • Chronic stable disease with life expectancy of several years
  • The frail elderly person
  • Competent patients who have declined referral
  • Competent patients who are unaware of their underlying disease
  • Patients with complex psychiatric disease who would be best treated by psychiatrist

We operate 4 hubs on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Townsville and Cairns. Read more about our Service hubs and regions.

For rural and remote clinicians

Monday to Friday Business Hours

During business hours, Monday to Friday, the SPaRTa clinical hub-site is able to provide specialist phone advice. Contact details for each can be found at the hub site page:

After hours and 24/7 advice

PallConsult – 24/7 phone advice (both after-hours and during business hours) is available through PallConsult. Alternatively, during business hours, the local SPaRTa clinical hub can be called, especially if a follow-up telehealth consult to the patient is desired.

  • 1300 PALLDR (1300 725 537) - 24/7 doctor and nurse practitioner advice hotline
    • Doctors and nurse practitioners needing palliative and end-of-life care advice can phone 1300 PALLDR to speak directly with a palliative medicine specialist.
  • 1300 PALLCR (1300 725 527) - 24/7 nurse and allied health professional advice hotline
    • Community and RACF nurses and allied health professionals caring for patients at the end of life can phone 1300 PALLCR to speak directly with a specialist palliative care nurse.

Free resources, education sessions and mentoring are also available through PallConsult.

Last updated: 10 January 2023