Utilising literature and systems theory to explore the intersections between policy, practice and equity of access to palliative care for older adults in Aotearoa New Zealand


  • Dallace Lilley Hospice Marlborough, Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Kate Reid Faculty of Health, University of Canterbury, Aotearoa New Zealand




Older adults, equity, palliative care, systems theory, social work



Older adults are the ‘disadvantaged dying’ within palliative care (Gott, Ibrahim, & Binstock, 2011). International and national research indicates those older in age are negatively impacted when accessing inpatient and outpatient palliative care services. As a Palliative Care Social Worker within a hospice multidisciplinary team, I primarily work alongside patients who are older adults, their family/whānau, and caregivers. Observations within practice foregrounded this examination of palliative care and inequity of access amongst older adults that includes Māori and LGBTQ+ perspectives, COVID-19 pandemic implications, and the impacts of inequitable access for caregivers and family/whānau. Inequity is explored within academic literature, national and international strategic documents, and legislative frameworks. Utilising a social work lens to examine the impacts of inequity and ageism, this article raises awareness for equitable access to palliative care and end-of-life services for older adults.

Author Biography

Kate Reid, Faculty of Health, University of Canterbury, Aotearoa New Zealand

Co-author to Dallace Lilley


Kate Reid

Te Kaupeka Oranga | Faculty of Health

T: +64 3 3693575, Ext 93575


University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha

Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand


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How to Cite

Lilley, D., & Reid, K. (2023). Utilising literature and systems theory to explore the intersections between policy, practice and equity of access to palliative care for older adults in Aotearoa New Zealand. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 35(1), 48–59. https://doi.org/10.11157/anzswj-vol35iss1id1006



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