I am a health professional

Health care professional’s role in palliative care

The term ’health care professional’ covers a wide range of professions, including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists and nutritionists. 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, interdisciplinary approach to providing end-of-life care to a person and their primary carers. A palliative care team may include several different healthcare professionals. The involvement of these professionals will be based on the needs of the person receiving care.

Quality palliative care and end-of-life support are required for people of all ages across all aspects of care. In practice, healthcare professionals provide services for people at different stages of their respective conditions, depending on their speciality and practice setting. Palliative care is centred on the patient and their primary carers. Therefore, healthcare 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 the health care system meets the different needs of health care professionals. Inter-professional learning, combined with specific learning opportunities based on profession are effective approaches towards preparing health care professionals to provide quality end-of-life care. Cultural awareness and culturally safe practice needs is a vital part of learning at all levels.

In order to ensure that the patient‘s physical, emotional, spiritual and practical needs are met, a healthcare professional must take the time to become familiar with their values and end-of-life wishes. The quality of support delivered to the patient and their primary carers is important in determining both the immediate and ongoing impact palliative care providers make.

Healthcare professionals work towards providing support that improves the quality of life for the person and those closest to them. This is achieved through providing patients and carers access to information and the support services they need. Open communication between healthcare professionals, patients and carers is essential in facilitating this Health care professionals must be aware of palliative care, and inform patients and carers on what information and services are available to them.

Q&A about Palliative care

We have produced a leaflet that answers most of the frequently asked questions that we receive. You can read it here (it will automatically go through each page) or you can download it via the button below.