As a person shifts from curative treatment to palliative care there is often a continuing or increasing need for additional support and physical care. For many, this will involve an informal carer.
An informal carer provides physical and emotional support to a person with a life limiting illness. This support is unregulated and is usually provided with no encouragement or financial compensation.
In the palliative setting, it is important that the nurse can identify the carer. This is particularly valuable in planning for preferred place of care, in upholding end of life wishes and in the setting of managing medicines as for many this will be a new (and possibly frightening) responsibility.
Effective management of medications requires:
Evidence shows that carers can feel unsupported in these complex tasks. For more support visit CarerHelp to access tools and tips for carers on caring.
Carers will often have interests (other dependents, employment, financial hardship and their own health issues) that complete with their role as a carer and practical solutions may need to be implemented. In Australia, there are a number of government allowances that can lessen the financial burden associated with caring and may assist in the implementation of these practical solutions.
Nurses that are in tune with the needs of the carer will provide more thorough patient care.
Visit the CarerHelp project
provides education for nurses so that they can support carers to administer subcutaneous medications.
Carers Gateway provides Education Modules for carers:
CarerHelp Medication Template & Handling Medicines form (748kb pdf)
More role of the carer resources
Last updated 20 August 2021