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The views and opinions expressed in our blog series are those of the authors and are not necessarily supported by CareSearch, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health.
Advance care planning is especially important as it assists health professionals to understand what choices and decisions have been made, how someone would like to be cared for, and the direction of treatment plans. However not all residential aged care facilities implement advance care planning policies. Nurse Practitioner Sharyn Speakman from Bushland Health Group discusses her experience and the processes she used to develop an advance care planning policy and procedures for the Bushland Health Group residential aged care facilities.
Nurse Practitioners (NP) work in many roles in residential aged care: general primary care, wound care, memory disorders, mental health, heart failure and palliative care.
A Nurse Practitioner is a Registered Nurse who has completed both advanced university study at a Masters Degree level and extensive clinical training to expand upon the traditional role of a Registered Nurse. They use extended skills, knowledge and experience in the assessment, planning, implementation, diagnosis and evaluation of care required.
As far as I know, I am still (unfortunately) the only specialist palliative care nurse practitioner employed by an aged care provider in Australia. Why is that you ask? Primarily it comes down to money. NP services are not funded via the aged care funding system (ACFI), and the income I can generate from bulk billing residents via Medicare covers only a small proportion of my salary. So it relies on an organisation like Resthaven seeing the non-monetary benefits and improved outcomes that stem from a role like this.