The Essential Role of Primary Health Care Nurses in Caring for People Approaching End of Life

The Essential Role of Primary Health Care Nurses in Caring for People Approaching End of Life
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Overview

Nurses represent the heart of primary health care. They provide a wide range of professional skills integral to holistic care. In addition, nurses form the co-ordinating glue of primary care; their management skills and emotional intelligence ensure that the whole of the primary health team is greater than the sum of the individual care parts.

Well managed holistic care is essential for people who are approaching end of life. In this presentation Professor Reymond will describe the centrality of nurses in providing quality end-of-life care for community-based palliative patients.

Increasing numbers of people with progressive conditions, both malignant and non-malignant, that are likely to lead to death in the near future are being cared for by primary health care teams. Nurses are optimally positioned and skilled to contribute to and coordinate the care of this vulnerable population. This talk will focus on a framework of care that nurses can help embed into everyday primary care practice that allows for routine recognition of people approaching end of life so that patient-centred and proactive management plans can be developed and implemented. These plans avoid decision making in emotionally charged situations and contribute to a quality death. The role of the nurse centres on the facilitation of systematic identification of patients approaching end of life, communication skills and careful patient needs assessment in collaboration with GPs and other primary health care team members.

Presented by Professor Liz Reymond

Liz Reymond holds the position of Deputy Director, Metro South Palliative Care Services (MSPCS). MSPCS provides inpatient, outpatient and community-based care across Metro South Health (MSH), Brisbane with a catchment population of over one million.  She is also Director of the Brisbane South Palliative Care Collaborative, the research and education arm of MSPCS. Her research interests include symptom management in palliative care patients and palliative care service delivery and development.

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