The Advance Project

What is Advance?

Advance logo 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 indicates 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 input from our expert advisory group and feedback from general practice nurses, general practitioners and Carers Australia. 

Who is it for?

Only registered and enrolled nurses who are currently working in Australian general practice are eligible. 

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 general practice nurses (GPNs) in initiating conversations with patients and their carers about screening for supportive care needs and ACP.

Why 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 may be ideally placed to help such patients identify their most important symptoms, concerns and priorities that they would like addressed by their GP.

General practices are also well placed to undertake ACP because of the ongoing and trusted relationships that develop with their patients. The general practice environment enables planning 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.

What are the benefits of Advance for general practice?

The Advance training package will help general practice nurse(s) to work with GPs to initiate ACP and, where appropriate, palliative care for elderly 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.
You can find out more by visiting the Advance website.

Last updated 17 January 2017