“Palliative care is everyone’s business”
This was the theme of Palliative Care Australia’s advocacy in 2013. While this message aimed primarily to promote understanding at the wider community level, it is important for all health care providers to recognise the role they play in palliative care. All health disciplines, in specialist and non-specialist roles, in acute, community and aged care settings, cross paths with people affected by life-limiting illnesses. To provide care reflecting the values and principles of palliative care, the health workforce needs to be appropriately prepared and updated through postgraduate learning, professional experience, and ongoing professional development.
A National Palliative Care Workforce Development Framework has been developed to provide guidance for individual health care providers, education providers, health service managers and policy makers to ensure all health care providers are equipped with capabilities relevant to their context of practice. The ultimate aim of this Framework is to enhance the quality of palliative care service delivery and increase support for people affected by life limiting illnesses in all care contexts.
The Palliative Care Education and Training Collaborative (the Collaborative) based at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) developed the Framework following extensive consultation with the sector. The Framework includes a palliative care workforce development model (draft) (Figure 1) which underpins the practical learning and teaching strategies that can be used to support workforce development in this field.
Figure 1: Palliative care workforce development model (draft)
The Palliative care workforce development model reflects the defining characteristics of the palliative care workforce in Australia which:
- Includes specialist and essential health care providers.
- Provides care which is patient centred and holistic.
- Provides care which reflects palliative care core values.
- Practices collaboratively with other health care providers and individuals with palliative needs.
- Provides care reflecting specialist or essential palliative care capabilities within individual and discipline specific scope of practice.
The Framework is intended to provide a resource for individuals and organisations to take actions to support the development of capacity in the palliative care workforce. It underpins a number of activities which the Collaborative is involved with:
- Integration of palliative care learning and teaching in entry to practice courses for all health professionals within the tertiary sector.
- Identifying the palliative care learning needs for community and aged care providers and Enrolled Nurses to inform recommendations to enhance palliative care learning and teaching within courses delivered in the Vocational Education and Training Sector.
- Mapping the service requirements for a state ambulance service and developing induction and professional development programs to support specific service needs.
- Implementation and evaluation of an interdisciplinary palliative care continuing professional development initiative within a specialist palliative care service.
The QUT Collaborative has worked with the CareSearch team from Flinders University to incorporate the principles and approaches within the Framework on the Education section of the CareSearch website. The re-development of the CareSearch Education section has been a collaborative project between the QUT and CareSearch teams. Users are able to access practical information on how to support learning by using one of the three pathways:
- I am part of the health workforce and want to explore my learning options (this includes conferences, workshops, formal qualifications, web based learning).
- I am an educator or manager and I want to support learning in palliative care (this includes how to apply the workforce development Framework, develop teaching and learning skills).
- I am a volunteer /unpaid carer and I want to access community education (this includes community education and eLearning for volunteers and eLearning for carers).
The Palliative Care Education and Training Collaborative is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. For further information on this work contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kylie Ash, National Project Manager, Palliative Care Curriculum for Undergraduates, Queensland University of Technology
Professor Patsy Yates, Head of School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology