About the Project

What is Advance?

Advance is a free toolkit of screening and assessment tools and a training package, specifically designed to support nurses in Australian general practices to work with general practitioners (GPs) to initiate advance care planning (ACP) and palliative care in everyday general practice.

The Advance Toolkit consists of six screening and assessment tools and a Guide, which explains how to implement the screening tools in a systematic way in general practice. The toolkit was informed by a literature review of the best available evidence about tools to support palliative care and ACP in general practice, as well as through input from our expert advisory group and feedback from general practice nurses (GPNs), general practitioners and Carers Australia. The toolkit has been endorsed by the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) and officially recognised as an accepted clinical resource by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

We will soon be extending the benefits from the Advance Project by tailoring the toolkit and training for GPs, GP registrars, Practice Managers and other clinicians working in primary and chronic/complex care.

Who is it for?

What is the aim of Advance?

Advance aims to enable better care outcomes in Australian GP practices through:
  • enabling earlier consideration and uptake of ACP
  • enabling more efficient use of GP and nurse time in providing palliative and supportive care
  • enabling more appropriate and timely referrals to specialist palliative care services if required
  • increasing confidence and comfort levels for primary care clinicians to initiate conversations with patients and their carers about ACP and palliative/supportive care.

Why use nurses in general practices?

General practices provide ongoing care for a large number of patients with chronic, debilitating and eventually fatal diseases, both malignant and non-malignant conditions. Thus general practices have an essential role in providing palliative care to patients and their families. GPNs play a key role in patient management within general practices. GPNs are already involved in managing patients who are at risk of deteriorating health and dying. Given their ongoing relationship with patients and carers and the level of trust developed, GPNs are ideally placed to help such patients identify their most important symptoms, concerns and priorities they would like addressed by their GP.

The general practice environment enables ACP discussions to start early when a patient is still relatively well. GPNs potentially have an important role in ACP. It is important that GPNs have the appropriate training and education to support whatever role they undertake in delivering ACP in their practice. Complementary training about the Advance model of screening and assessment to initiate ACP and palliative care for GPs and Practice Managers will be available soon. This will enable a team-based systematic approach to initiating ACP, and assessing and addressing palliative and supportive care needs in general practices.

What are the benefits of Advance for general practice?

The Advance training will help general practice nurse(s) to work with GPs to initiate ACP and, where appropriate, palliative care for older and/or chronically ill patients within the practice. This will:
  • Help break down some of the barriers to ACP in general practice
  • Enable the practice to more efficiently:
    • identify patients who might be at risk of deteriorating and dying
    • assess and address the supportive care needs of patients who might be at risk of deteriorating and dying
    • assess and address the needs of carers of patients who might be at risk of deteriorating and dying
  • Help identify patients who might benefit from early referral to specialist palliative care services.

How is the training funded and delivered?

The training is available FREE of charge. Advance is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and is delivered by a national consortium. There is FREE online training and FREE one-to-one tele-mentoring from an experienced palliative care nurse available for all eligible participants. The training counts towards GPN’s continuing professional development (CPD) requirements. We are working with relevant professional bodies to ensure that training for GPs will also meet GP’s continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.

How much time will it take a general practice nurse to complete the training and where will the training be delivered?

The online component of the training package will take about two hours in total to complete. There are three modules, covering concepts such as: APNA CPD Endorsed 2018 logo
  • Learning to initiate palliative care and ACP in general practice in a routine and sensitive way;
  • Learning how nurse facilitated screening of patients and their carers will support general practices to more efficiently address patients’ and carers’ needs; and
  • Developing skills to use the Advance Project screening and assessment tools.
The online training has been endorsed by the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA), according to approved quality standards criteria.

The FREE tele-mentoring with our specialist palliative care nurse is available to support implementation of the Advance tools into clinical general practice. The tele-mentoring can be tailored to the learning needs of individual participants.

Would you like to be able to print this information and share it with others?

You can download a pdf (112kb) of this information.

Like to know more?

You can watch a brief video about the Advance Program.

Contact our experienced specialist palliative care nurse education, Ms Kelly Arthurs
Email: karthurs@hammond.com.au

Or contact the Advance project team.
Email: AdvanceProject@hammond.com.au


Last updated 2 May 2018