When home is the preferred place of death

Palliative care patients at the end of life will often spend the majority of their time at home. Many people if asked would say they would like to stay at home for as long as possible. Many would also like to die at home. [1]

When someone is at home they need the support of a healthcare team. This often includes a GP, community nurse and sometimes a practice nurse. Family and friends will also often be involved. Specialist palliative care services may or may not be involved in their care during this time.

Community nurses may coordinate the care provided at home and also provide bereavement follow-up. [2] Sometimes they have specialist palliative care experience, but often this work is undertaken in addition to their usual generalist role, and although it may be intermittent or infrequent it is seen as important. [3] The care at home at the end of life often remains in the memories of carers and family members who have been involved. The Advance Project has developed online training in palliative care to help general practice nurses and practice managers develop the skills and understanding required in this setting.

Palliative care community nursing

Video from Sydney Local Health District

This information was drawn from the following resources:

  1. Munday D, Petrova M, Dale J. Exploring preferences for place of death with terminally ill patients: qualitative study of experiences of general practitioners and community nurses in England. BMJ. 2009 Jul 15;339:b2391.
  2. Brownhill S, Chang E, Bidewell J, Johnson A. A decision model for community nurses providing bereavement care. Br J Community Nurs. 2013 Mar;18(3):133-9.
  3. Cumming M, Boreland F, Perkins D. Do rural primary health care nurses feel equipped for palliative care? Aust J Prim Health. 2012;18(4):274-83.

Last updated 20 August 2021