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Care Plus for Health Services

Care Plus offers an extra layer of support that is provided alongside usual care. It is a model of early palliative care designed to overcome known barriers and enable equitable access for patients and families to this service.

The Care Plus Implementation Package gives clinicians the practical tools to implement the Care Plus pathway, and is now available for use.

Care Plus provides a flexible and feasible pathway for providing this extra layer of support within existing health services.

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What is
Care Plus?

Care Plus provides an extra layer of support for people with advanced cancer. It is provided alongside usual care with a focus on the patient living well and ensuring the patient and family have the support they need. The expertise for this supportive care is accessed through specialist palliative teams. 


Care Plus aims to improve access to early palliative care for patients, their families and carers by addressing the known barriers to palliative care integration. It addresses the questions of why, who, when and how early palliative care can be offered by health services and accepted by patients. 


Care Plus aims to improve patient access and acceptance of early palliative care at participating sites by: 

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Establishing agreed patient cohorts, trigger points and processes for referral to specialist palliative care.

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Strengthening and supporting healthcare professionals’ skills in discussing the benefits and activities of early palliative care through introductory language, training and resources.

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Integrating oncological and palliative care by systemically providing outpatient palliative care as part of usual high-quality cancer care.

Why Care Plus? 

Current international consensus is that early referral to palliative care services improves cancer patient and family carer outcomes. In practice, however, these referrals are not routine. Early and timely referral to palliative care, including in the hospital and outpatient setting, remains challenging for many cancer services. Care Plus offers an approach which directly addresses identified barriers to earlier integration of palliative with cancer care, demonstrates the steps and offers  adaptable resources for implementing this practice change at your local site.


"It really helped facilitate the best care for that person when the standard kind of processes weren’t able to be met…even in the context of metastatic upper GI cancers, people that have additional either psychosocial or physical or carer related issues, Care Plus really enhanced the ability to meet those needs. "
Nurse Care Co-ordinator

Nurse Care Coordinator

Can I implement
Care Plus at my local health service?

The Care Plus implementation package is a collection of implementation strategies to establish early palliative care across hospital-based healthcare services. The package guides health services through three phases of implementation of the Care Plus pathway. 

The Care Plus resource package is free to use as designed and is available now.

What evidence is there for
Care Plus?

Built on extensive foundational evidence, the Care Plus study is an Australian mixed method, multi-site implementation trial of early palliative care for patients with advanced cancer. The Care Plus study gathered strategies and lessons to develop a resource package for health-service providers to implement this standardised and integrated approach to early palliative care for advanced cancer patients. This approach has been implemented and evaluated based on implementation science principles in hospital settings in Victoria and South Australia. Care Plus has been demonstrated to be acceptable, feasible, effective, scalable and sustainable. 

Can I ask more questions about implementing the  
Care Plus pathway?

Yes! Contact the Care Plus research team at


If you are interested in discussing and sharing the challenges and successes of integrating early palliative and oncological care at your local site, we are looking to establish a Community of Practice. Express your interest at


To immediately access the Care Plus Implementation Package click here. 

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