Palliative care considerations in rural and remote areas 

People who live in rural and remote areas have additional issues to consider when managing life-limiting illnesses. This includes delayed access to services, transport, distances to travel, time away from home for investigations and treatment. Isolation and loneliness can also be a very real issue for those in rural and remote areas.

Rural nurses also have additional considerations such as fewer resources and often access to the wider multidisciplinary team. Gaps in service provision, including hospice, mean that families often have no choice in taking on the caring role. [1] Families and carers require support from health professionals to continue caring. [2]

Within small communities patients and health professionals may be neighbours or friends. This can be both comforting and confronting. At times, privacy and confidentiality can be a challenge. [3]

  1. Lynch S. Hospice and palliative care access issues in rural areas. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2013 Mar;30(2):172-7. Epub 2012 Apr 24.
  2. Pesut B, Robinson CA, Bottorff JL. Among neighbors: An ethnographic account of responsibilities in rural palliative care. Palliat Support Care. 2014 Apr;12(2):127-38. Epub 2013 Mar 19.
  3. Pesut B, Bottorff JL, Robinson CA. Be known, be available, be mutual: a qualitative ethical analysis of social values in rural palliative care. BMC Med Ethics. 2011 Sep 28;12:19.

Last updated 20 August 2021