Role and support needs of nurses in delivering palliative and end of life care
Evidence and practice    

Role and support needs of nurses in delivering palliative and end of life care

Clare Gardiner Senior research fellow, Division of Nursing and Midwifery, Health Sciences School, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England
Louise Bolton PhD student, Division of Nursing and Midwifery, Health Sciences School, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England, and practice educator, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Nottingham, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To increase your awareness of the pressures and demands on palliative care services

  • To gain a clearer understanding of the scope of specialist and generalist palliative care

  • To recognise that all nurses have a role to play in delivering palliative and end of life care

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to a significant increase in the demand for palliative and end of life care, particularly in the community. Furthermore, palliative and end of life care services face growing pressures due to the increasing number of older people and increasing prevalence of chronic illness. Palliative and end of life care cannot be provided solely by specialists but needs to be integrated into mainstream healthcare. All nurses have a role in supporting patients with life-limiting conditions, and their families, by providing what is termed ‘generalist palliative care’. However, some nurses may feel unprepared, unsupported or lacking the confidence and skills for that role. This article explores the definitions of palliative and end of life care, as well as the changes and challenges in service provision brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. It also considers how nurses who have not specialised in this area of practice can be supported to care effectively for patients with life-limiting conditions, and their families, notably through workforce development initiatives such as training programmes and clinical supervision. This could not only increase the skills of the nursing workforce but also improve patient care.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2021.e11789

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

@loubolton37

Correspondence

c.gardiner@sheffield.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Gardiner C, Bolton L (2021) Role and support needs of nurses in delivering palliative and end of life care. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2021.e11789

Published online: 25 October 2021

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