Medication Needs, Goals and Preferences - Medication Management - Managing Risk

Medication Needs, Goals and Preferences

Medication needs, goals and preferences should be regularly assessed as they will change throughout the palliative phase.

  • The person is not assessed, and their medication is not adjusted in response to changing goals, needs and preferences.
  • Symptoms are not effectively managed and the person experiences unnecessary harm and suffering.
  • Use clear prompts/triggers for regularly assessing the person’s medication needs when they are in the palliative phase.
  • Ensure appropriate assessment tools are used.
  • Ensure care planning documents (including Advance Care Directives) are up-to-date and reflect the needs, goals and preferences of the person and are accessible to care staff.
  • Monitor a person’s response to medication changes and document clearly.
  • Seek feedback from those involved in the person’s care and address issues as soon as they arise.

Regular assessment is needed

Regular assessment during the palliative care period is essential for an individualised, person-centred approach that is responsive to changing circumstances.5

Assessment of a person’s medication needs should form part of a broader assessment of the person’s care needs, goals and preferences. The Palliative Care Standards identify comprehensive assessment and a corresponding care plan as foundational to supporting better experiences and outcomes. Likewise, the Aged Care Quality Standards require aged care providers to undertake ongoing assessment and planning with consumers to identify and address their current needs, goals and preferences.8

As death approaches, a person's medication needs can rapidly change

In their final days of life, people can deteriorate quickly and experience rapid changes in the type and severity of symptoms. This rapid deterioration means that treatment goals and medication options, preferences and needs can also rapidly change.

Reassessment when death is imminent and being prepared for rapid changes in symptoms will ensure effective medication management.7

  • Resources

ELDAC Residential Aged Care Toolkit


Page updated 29 January 2024