Barossa Hills Fleurieu Local Health Network in partnership with Flinders University has been awarded an ARIIA grant for their project ‘A pilot program: Embedding a Palliative Care Link Nurse (PC-Link Nurse) into Residential Aged Care Facilities in regional South Australia’.
There are various challenges in delivering good palliative and end-of-life care (EoLC) to residents in residential aged care facilities (RACFs). Additionally, nuances of the regional setting further compound the delivery of care in the last phase. However, palliative care (PC) link nurse programmes have proven helpful in building staff knowledge, skills and abilities that result in good patient outcomes. While the evidence shows this is useful in an acute metropolitan setting, it could overcome challenges in other settings.
This project leverages the evidence from the acute care experience to tackle some challenges in delivering good palliative and EoLC in RACFs throughout regional South Australia. It is a novel project as it uses the funds to recruit a part-time nurse already working clinically at each RACF. As such, they already understand the challenges faced in providing good quality PC and EoLC, supplementing the existing clinical staffing arrangements at the local site. Furthermore, in selecting the 15 regional RACFs, this project builds upon existing relationships developed by the Rural Support Service (RSS) specialist palliative care (SPC) team.
For a small investment, the data collected from this project will inform the broader rollout of PC-Link Nurses in all sites with aged-care beds.