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Nurses should lead the way in palliative care: ACN

In the five-year period between 2011–12 and 2015–16 there was a nearly 30 per cent growth in palliative care hospitalisation.

Add to this the 160,00 Australians who die each year – 70 per cent due to expected causes – a rapidly-ageing population and the commencement of voluntary assisted dying in Victoria as of July 1, then conversations around the quality of palliative care are increasingly important.

The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) certainly holds this view and believes nurses should take a leading role. The college recently released a white paper titled Achieving Quality Palliative Care for All: The Essential Role of Nurses.

Chief executive Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward said: “The death of someone we love is exceptionally difficult to face and I think that has made it challenging for us as a nation to have frank and fearless policy discussions about how we care for people who are confronting their mortality.

“The nursing profession makes up the largest component of the palliative care workforce. ACN wants to see increased support for nurse-led models of care that will ensure people receive the physical, emotional, social and spiritual care they deserve."

Nursing Review spoke with Patsy Yates, chair of ACN’s End of Life Care Policy Chapter, to hear more about the white paper.

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