End-of-life essentials: education for allied health professionals

Kim Devery1, Jennifer Tieman2

1Palliative and Supportive Services, School of Health Science, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100 Adelaide, 5001. Kim.devery@flinders.edu.au
2Palliative and Supportive Services, School of Health Science, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100 Adelaide, 5001.

Background

Many allied health professionals will find they are providing services and care for Australians who are in the last year of life with little training on end-of-life issues.   The majority of Australians will die in acute hospitals. Common challenges for any clinician include:

  • Not knowing how to respond to patient questions ‘such as am I dying?’ or ‘what will happen to me?’
  • Being able to recognise and understand dying patterns
  • Negotiating goals of care with patients, families and other professionals
  • Working effectively in a team
  • Knowing what to do if patient suffering persists

Methods

The End-of-life Essentials project provides free e-learning modules and implementation resources for hospital clinicians. Designed for nurses, doctors and allied health professions working in any acute care practice setting, these modules provide specialist e-learning and resources to increase knowledge in end-of-life care. The package has been prepared by the palliative care team at Flinders University in partnership with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. The resources and e-learning are free to use and can be easily accessed from anywhere in Australia.

Discussion

Dying is a normal part of life and a human experience.  Access to appropriate and specialist e-learning and resources will empower and enhance allied health professions to confidently respond to and manage challenging end-of-life care.

End-of-Life Essentials Team

Biography

Kim Devery coordinates the palliative care post graduate programs at Flinders University South Australia. She also leads a national project which aims to increase the knowledge and skill capacity on end-of-life care for health care professionals.