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Need to Provide Ongoing Education

New Zealand Nurses Organisation

Media Release

27 May 2008

Palliative Care Concerns Highlight Need to Provide Ongoing Education

The New Zealand Nurses' Organisation welcomes today's Morning Report discussion on palliative care in residential aged care settings.

NZNO supports the New Zealand Palliative Care Strategy and commends efforts being made by hospice and palliative care services to provide education, advice and support to the residential care and home based services. However, the number of Registered Nursing hours available in these settings for assessment, monitoring and ongoing care is limited and hinders effective nursing, resident and patient outcomes.

NZNO Professional Services Manager Susanne Trim says NZNO supports Dr Rod MacLeod's comments on the inadequacy of end-of-life-care training in undergraduate medical and nursing programmes. NZNO also recognises the difficulties in the provision of specialty palliative care education to the residential care sector where staff-release time to attend educational opportunities is particularly challenging.

"Palliative care requires specialty knowledge and skills. While many staff in these settings have received training updates, others, particularly in some more rural areas, have not. In the under-resourced aged care sector it is extremely difficult to provide the level of care required for specialty palliative care nursing due to the structural and staffing challenges," says Susanne Trim.

It was noteworthy that Diane Millins (daughter of Mrs Crutchley) stated that the general residential care for her mother was good but that it was the specialty knowledge required to manage her mother's distressing symptoms which was inadequate. No person should end their life in the way that Mrs Crutchley did and NZNO extends its deepest sympathy to Ms Millins and her family.

NZNO invites wider discussion on end-of-life palliative care and calls for greater Government and residential care provider support to address the challenges in meeting the palliative care needs of residents in rest homes, their hospitals and home-based aged care services.


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