Palliative care education for care workers in aged care: A scoping review



      Globally, residential aged care is a common place to receive palliative care. Yet 70% of the workforce is made up of unregulated health care workers, many of whom have no formal palliative care education and report a lack of knowledge and ability to provide best practice palliative care.


      Does the provision of palliative care education to unregulated health care workers in residential aged care, improve knowledge, confidence, and ability to provide best practice care to residents with palliative care needs?


      A literature search utilising health care databases CINAHL, MEDLINE, and AgeLine was conducted. Citations were screened against the inclusion criteria and the methodology from the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Manual for Evidence Synthesis, assisted in selecting articles that informed the research question.


      Nine articles met the inclusion criteria. Four areas of interest were derived: (i) Palliative Care knowledge and confidence; (ii) Communication skills; (iii) Roles and responsibilities; (iv) Barriers to implementation and sustainability.


      Evidence suggests the provision of palliative care education to unregulated health care workers may be beneficial in imparting knowledge and confidence, ultimately resulting in an improved ability to provide best practice care. However, barriers within the aged care system may interfere with the implementation and sustainability of newly acquired knowledge. Limitations of the review include the unknown quality of the educational content provided.


      Palliative care education is part of the solution to enhanced outcomes for aged care residents but is not the complete answer. Systemic industry change is required to achieve sustainable outcomes.


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