Residential aged-care workers and the palliative approach: Tensions in the field

Journal article


McInerney, Frances, Ford, Rosemary, Simpson, Angela and Willison, Michelle. (2009) Residential aged-care workers and the palliative approach: Tensions in the field. Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing. 11(6), pp. 344 - 352. https://doi.org/10.1097/NJH.0b013e3181bd03df
AuthorsMcInerney, Frances, Ford, Rosemary, Simpson, Angela and Willison, Michelle
Abstract

Despite the recognition of the importance of the palliative approach for older adults in residential aged-care facilities, the provision of palliative care remains suboptimal. Strategies to improve palliative care education have targeted those health carers who provide direct physical care, namely, registered nurses and unlicensed personal care attendants. While ancillary (laundry, lifestyle, food services, maintenance, and administrative) staff have been identified as an important part of the aged-care team, they have been largely absent from such studies. This article reports the experiences and perceptions of palliative care by the entire care team in an Australian aged-care facility. With few exceptions, staff perceived palliative care to be synonymous with terminal care and to be primarily physically focused. Teamwork was found to be threatened by poor communication strategies between physical care and ancillary staff, with ancillary staff simultaneously reluctant to engage in, and frustrated by their exclusion from, care-related discussions. In addition to identifying key areas for education for all levels of health carers, along with the potential of focus groups as a strategy in this endeavor, this study highlights the importance of team cohesion for enacting the palliative approach in the aged-care context.

Keywordsancillary staff; focus groups; nursing staff; palliative approach; peendants; residential aged carersonal care att
Year2009
JournalJournal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing
Journal citation11 (6), pp. 344 - 352
PublisherLippincott Williams and Wilkins
ISSN1522-2179
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1097/NJH.0b013e3181bd03df
Page range344 - 352
Research GroupSchool of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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