I am a Health Care Professional
National Palliative Care Service Directory
The term ’health care professional’ covers a wide range of professions, including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, occupational therapists and dietitians. There are many people who provide palliative care services. Some specialise in palliative care as a full-time role and others will have palliative care as a part of their daily work.
Palliative care adopts a team-based, multi-disciplinary approach to providing end-of-life care to a person and their primary carers. A palliative care team may include a number of different health care professionals. The involvement of these professionals will be based on the needs of the person receiving care.
Health care professional’s role in palliative care
Quality palliative care and end-of-life support is beneficial for people with a life-limiting illness of all ages across all aspects of care. In practice, health care professionals provide services for people at different stages of their respective conditions, depending on their specialty and practice setting. Palliative care is centred on the patient and their primary carers. Therefore, health care professionals are required to have the appropriate skills and knowledge needed to provide quality end-of-life care.
Professional development in palliative care is a key factor in ensuring that health care professionals have the skills they need to deliver high quality care.
In order to ensure that the patient‘s physical, emotional, spiritual and practical needs are met, a health care professional must take the time to become familiar with their values and end-of-life wishes.
Health care professionals work towards providing support that improves the quality of life for the person and those closest to them. This is achieved by providing patients and carers access to information and the support services they need. Open communication between health care professionals, patients and carers is essential in facilitating this. Health care professionals must be aware of what palliative care can offer and inform patients and carers on what information and services are available to them.
Training and Education in Palliative Care
There are a number of courses and training programs to help build your skills in palliative care. These include:
- Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA)
- Indigenous Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (IPEPA)
- Palliative Care Curriculum for Undergraduates (PCC4U)
- Online palliative care training (offered through Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA); and
- End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC)
- The Gwandalan National Palliative Care Project – educational and training materials to support relationships between service providers, frontline staff and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
The Palliative Care Education (PaCE) Directory app is a resource directory for educators, health and aged care providers in the form of a mobile-responsive web-based app. It can help you find learning resources that support the development of palliative care capabilities for a variety of professions and practice contexts. The directory includes information about learning approaches and modes of delivery for each resource. It is free to use, and all learning resources are free to access. For more information visit PaCE.
Self-care for health professionals
Caring for people as they near the end of life is demanding and challenging. Palliative Care Australia (PCA) has developed a suite of self-care resources that have been designed to meet the needs of health and aged care professionals, knowing that you have limited time and need resources that you can use as and when you need them.
For more information about palliative care for a health professional, click on the links below. These pages are also available to download.
- What is palliative care?
- COVID-19 Updates
- Facts about morphine and other opioid medicines in palliative care
- Learn more about pain and pain management
- National Palliative Care Services Directory
- Palliative Care Self-Assessment online portal (PaCSA)
- Palliative Care in Aged Care
- The dying process
- Understanding grief
For more information about paediatric palliative care, click here.
Advance Care Planning Australia provides information, National advance care planning support service 1300 208 582, and ACPA learning modules.
Links to Professional bodies
- Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine
- Paediatric Palliative Care Australia and New Zealand (PaPCANZ)
- Palliative Care Nurses Australia
- Perinatal Palliative Care Special Interest Group
Disclaimer: PCA provides these links for information purpose only. It is not responsible for the content of these websites.
If you notice any of the links are broken or would like to suggest additional information resources to be added, please contact us.