The role of palliative care nurse practitioner in promoting end-of-life care in residential care facilities

Lisa Roberts, Kelvin CY Leung, Carmelle Peisah


Background and objective: The neglect of older people at the end of life in residential care documented in the Australian Royal Commission into Aged Care and Quality and Safety mandates urgent solutions to improve care. This integrative literature review aimed to explore the potential role of the palliative care nurse practitioner (PC-NP) in promoting quality end of life in residential care.

Methods: Databases Medline, Emcare, PsychINFO and CINAHL were searched from January 2010 to April 2022. Full text of primary articles meeting inclusion criteria encompassing residents living in residential care settings, the role of the PC-NP in supporting quality dying were obtained and independently screened to determine final studies for review. Findings were thematically analysed. Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed level of evidence and quality ratings for both quantitative and qualitative studies.

Results: Of 12 articles meeting eligibility criteria, four specifically focused on the PC-NP or the palliative care nurse in residential care, seven examined the generic nurse practitioner role, and one the aged care nurse role in supporting palliative care. Themes common to all roles including positive patient outcomes, advance care planning, hospital avoidance, staff education and enhanced communication with families. Themes specific to the PC-NP included meeting end-of-life needs, end-of-life prescribing, and enhancing the role of the General Practitioner.

Conclusions: Although reflected in only a handful of studies, this integrative review has provided preliminary insights into potential contributions of the PC-NP to quality end-of-life care for residential care residents.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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