palliAGED Introductory modules for aged care nurses – a gateway to core business

palliAGED Introductory modules for aged care nurses – a gateway to core business

A blog post written by Dr Katrina Erny-Albrecht, Senior Research Fellow, CareSearch

After graduation, nurses set out on a path of lifelong learning. This is partly to do with requirements for registration, but it is also about providing support and leadership for the people they care for and work with.  Many of their clients will be experts in their own health experience and some will be armed with information from the internet. But they will still rely on nurses to help them make sense of it and to help them get the care they need and want. This comes with an expectation that nurses know more than their clients do. This is equally true in aged care.

The recent pledge from the Australian government to grow the workforce across the aged care system through the Aged Care Transition to Practice Program for nurses is welcome. It also acknowledges that core nursing education needs to be supported by aged care specific training and contexts. For nurses headed this way that signals the benefits of more targeted learning!

And as noted in the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, ‘Residential aged care is often a person’s final place of residence before they die. Palliative and end-of-life care, like dementia care, should be considered core business for aged care providers.’ Aged care training across all settings will need to include capacity for palliative care with its focus on quality of life and support for the person and their families.

To help nurses engaging with aged care and/or palliative care for the first time, the palliAGED team has again worked with the sector to develop resources that are practical in nature and grounded in evidence. These resources have been designed to introduce core concepts, support the use of aged care and palliative care evidence by nurses, and provide links to practical resources for care.

This month we have launched a series of ten introductory modules that draw on and complement the widely used palliAGED Practice Tip Sheets for nurses in aged care. With each module designed to take approximately 12-15 minutes, the modules are offered as a gateway to palliative care education and training. In support of this release we have also developed a series of pages For Nurses to help you get the most out of palliAGED. The palliAGED website is the evidence resource for best practice palliative care within the aged care sector.

Freely available for use by individuals and organisations, the modules are aimed at introductory training for busy nurses. There is also a companion manual with practical tips on the application of common tools and processes referred to in the modules and including tips on communication. How we best learn and the time available to take on new knowledge varies between individuals. Combined with the Practice Tip Sheets for nurses and the interactive palliAGED forms these modules provide a flexible set of training materials for nurses in any setting. You can even download a certificate to add to your learning portfolio for CPD.

Beginning with the evidence and working with sectors to provide resources that are relevant and useful is a core element of the palliAGED/CareSearch model. On this occasion we were very pleased and fortunate to work with the team at Opal HealthCare and members of our Practice Tip Sheet expert review group to develop these new modules for the aged care sector.

We hope that these new resources developed for the sector with the sector contribute to quality care at the end of life for older Australians by opening the gate for nurses to palliative care in aged care.

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The views and opinions expressed in Palliative Perspectives are those of the authors and are not necessarily supported by CareSearch, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.