Great Benefits


4 key things you need to know about Advance

1. First of all, it’s specifically designed for General Practice nurses.

Our goal is 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.

2. What is it?

It’s a practical toolkit of screening and assessment tools and a training package aimed at providing better care for people in the Australian community who are either older and/or chronically ill.

3. It’s free!

The program is available FREE of charge for nurses working in Australian general practices. There will be FREE online training, FREE face-to-face workshops, reimbursement for your time to practice your skills and provide valuable feedback when completing patient assessments, and more. The training will count towards your CPD requirement.

4. Who is behind it?

Advance is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, endorsed by the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA), and delivered by a national consortium.


Training and support for general practice nurses

Advance provides training and support for general practice nurses in Australia. 

General practices provide ongoing care for a large number of patients with chronic, debilitating and eventually fatal diseases. 

As a general practice nurse, you play a key role in patient management. Your ongoing relationship with patients and carers, and the level of trust you develop, means you are ideally placed to help patients identify their most important symptoms, concerns and priorities. 

The Advance training package will help you and General Practitioners (GPs) to work together 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 you to identify patients who might benefit from early referral to specialist palliative care services.
APNA CPD Endorsed 2017 logo Both the online training and resources (the Advance Toolkit) have been endorsed by the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA)  according to approved quality standards criteria.


What people are saying about Advance

“As the population ages, hearing the patient’s voice on what is important to them becomes more and more important. Practice nurses can bring a lot to the process, and allow GPs to make the most efficient use of their time possible. 

Advance is comprehensive, and gives practical tools and advice in how best to facilitate identifying the end of life and planning appropriately for it. It is a professional and relevant training package. I would say – do it!!”

Geoff Mitchell MBBS PhD FRACGP FAChPM 
Professor Geoff Mitchell is Professor of General Practice and Palliative Care, and a member of the Advance Advisory Group



“I think primary care nurses have the potential to play a big role in improving the care of patients with supportive and palliative care needs. This project will help train many primary care nurses in being able to have difficult conversations with patients.
 
I would encourage primary care nurses to embrace this opportunity and give it a crack! You’ll be pleasantly surprised on how rewarding it is to be involved in caring for patients who are nearing the end of life. The most fulfilling part of my clinical practice is in seeing palliative care patients."

Joel Rhee BSc(Med) MBBS(Hons) GradCertULT PhD FRACGP
Dr Joel Rhee is an academic general practitioner with special interest in end of life care and advance care planning. He is also a member of the Advance Advisory Group


The Advance Q & A

Josephine Clayton holding patient handWe asked Dr Josephine Clayton, Advance Program Director, to tell us a bit more about what lies behind Advance, and why it’s had so much support.

Q: Dr Clayton, can you please start by just telling us a bit about yourself and your background?

Yes - I am a palliative medicine physician at HammondCare in Sydney and an Associate Professor of Palliative Care at The University of Sydney. I have a strong interest in supporting general practices to provide advance care planning and palliative care to their patients.

Q: What actually is Advance?

We have developed a toolkit and training package specifically to support nurses in Australian general practices to work with GPs to initiate advance care planning and palliative care in their practice. 

The development of this toolkit and training package is funded by the Australian Government, Department of Health, and endorsed by the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA). 

In addition to the Toolkit and the online education modules, as part of Advance, general practice nurses can access workshops, mentorship, a train-the-trainer program and complete advance care planning and supportive and palliative care assessments as part of their clinical practice. 

Scholarships are available for rural general practice nurses to attend workshops to be held in major Australian cities and reimbursement is available for completion of advance care planning and supportive and palliative care assessments.

Q: What will Advance help me to do?

Advance will help you to:
  • Sensitively introduce the topic of ACP to elderly or chronically ill patients
  • Work with GPs to identify any patients within the general practice who might be at risk of deteriorating and dying and hence benefit from an assessment of their supportive care needs
  • Build on your relationship with patients who might be at risk of deteriorating and dying, by doing a supportive care assessment, including screening for their symptoms, concerns, questions and priorities.
  • Support and screen the needs of carers of patients who might be at risk of deteriorating and dying
  • Work with GPs to assess whether the patient’s needs can be met by the general practice or whether they may need early referral to specialist palliative care services.

Q: Why should I as a General Practice Nurse be involved in the evaluation opportunities/activities of the Advance Project?

We want to provide ongoing improvement to the program in order to optimize care for your patients. 

The only way we can evaluate the quality and the impact of the Advance Training and the toolkit assessment tools is through your valuable feedback. Your participation in a 10-15 minute survey before and after the online training program will help us to improve and refine the program for the future.  After completing the online training modules, you will have the opportunity to take part in some other evaluation activities and be reimbursed for your time. 

Q: Why are general practices appropriate places for palliative care and advance care planning?

General practices are in an ideal position to undertake advance care planning because of the trusted relationships that develop with their patients. The general practice environment enables planning discussions to start early when a patient is still relatively well. 

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.  

Q: So can you tell us about some of the details?  What is contained in the Toolkit?

The Advance Toolkit consists of six screening tools and a guide which indicates how to implement the screening tools in a systematic way in general practice, to initiate conversations about advance care planning and supportive and palliative care. 

The Toolkit was informed by a literature review of the best available evidence about tools to support palliative care and advance care planning in general practice, as well as through input from our expert advisory group and feedback from general practice nurses and Carers Australia. 

These online education modules explain how to use the tools in clinical practice.

Q: How is this Advance training different from other advance care planning or palliative care training that is being offered by others?

The Advance training is specifically designed for nurses working in Australian General Practices. The focus is on initiating palliative care and advance care planning in General Practice. The heart of the program is a set of screening and assessment tools to enable you to do this. The training will teach you how to use these tools in your clinical practice. The training aims to increase your skills and confidence in initiating conversations with older and/or chronically ill patients about advance care planning. It will also help you to identify and assess the needs of patients, and their carers, who might be at risk of deteriorating and dying. This training complements training being offered by other national programs such as PEPA and Decision Assist.

Q: How do I get started?

You can get started today on the Advance Website – just click www.caresearch.com.au/advance> joining the project
 

Last updated 29 June 2017