Nurse Practitioners, part of the team approach to quality palliative care

Nurse Practitioner Week (12 – 18 December) is an opportunity to acknowledge and promote the impact these professionals have on the delivery of palliative care.

“Quality palliative care is a team effort,” says Camilla Rowland, CEO, Palliative Care Australia.

“Nurse Practitioners are often the glue in that approach; the people who not only deliver medical care in their own right but also identify the other health, welfare, or care professionals needed as part of a holistic plan for someone’s health journey.”

Nurse Practitioners are senior clinical nurses with advanced qualifications and extensive expertise, who can practice in all areas and sectors of healthcare. They are able to diagnose, treat a variety of health-related conditions, prescribe medications, as well as order and interpret pathology and radiology tests.

There are currently around 2,500 Nurse Practitioners working across Australia many in care settings where it can be hard to receive care from a doctor.

“Aged care and regional and remote palliative care services are a great example of this,” says Joshua Cohen, Nurse Practitioner in Palliative Care and Vice President of Palliative Care Nurses Australia.

“The community and indeed health services in every State and Territory, are only just beginning to understand how Nurse Practitioners can make a real difference to people’s health experience and the efficiency of the health system itself.”

“For their part, the Federal Government needs to consider better remuneration through access to more MBS (Medicare Benefits Schedule) item numbers. While State and Territory health services could provide ongoing, recurrent funding for Nurse Practitioner positions so that nurses can work towards these roles.”

Demand for palliative care is on track to increase by 50% in the next decade and double by 2050, Ms Rowland explains, adding that “increasing the palliative care workforce is central to meeting that need.”

“Nurse Practitioners are a critical part of the palliative care workforce and key to the planning that needs to be done now and for the future,” she says.

“We are hopeful that the Ministers for Health and Aged Care will support our initiative for a National Palliative Care Workforce Plan so that Nurse Practitioners can grow their leadership and influence in the provision of palliative care, side by side with other health professionals.”

To show your support for the Nurse Practitioners working in your local community explore the tools and resources at the Australian College of Nurse Practitioners website.

Wednesday, 14 December 2022

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