Palliative nurses welcome funding boost

25 May 2015

A funding boost for palliative care is warmly welcomed to help attract young nurses onto the palliative care nurse specialist pathway, says the Palliative Care Nurses New Zealand chair.

Last week's Budget provided a $76.1 million package for palliative care over the next four years including employing an addition up to 60 new palliative nurse specialists, educators and other roles in hospices around the country.

Palliative Care Nurses New Zealand (PCNNZ) chair Jude Pickthorne says the funding can only be seen as positive.

"However it would be fair to say being able to source those specialist palliative care nurses at a drop of a hat would be incorrect," said Pickthorne. "And would underplay the amount of education/training and expertise that current Palliative Care Nursing Clinical Nurse Specialists have."

But she added with an ageing palliative care nursing population the new funding was an opportunity attract young and new nurses into the palliative care nursing pathway, including to nurse practitioner status.

Jane Hollings, the PCNNZ vice-chair who works with Christchurch's Nurse Maude hospice, said the hospice sector was delighted with the news and was now looking forward to details from the Ministry of Health about how the funding was to be allocated 

She said the Budget announcement's focus on aged care was "welcomed and necessary".  "Hospice services will I am sure embrace this opportunity to work collaboratively with this sector to ensure equitable quality palliative care for the older person in this setting."

"The numbers of referrals to specialist palliative care demonstrates the increasing need and demand on hospice services and it is wonderful to see this acknowledged. The role that the clinical nurse specialists and educators play in providing advice, support and education to all providers of primary palliative care cannot be emphasised enough."

Pickthorne also added that, while the focus of the funding was on palliative care nursing within primary, hospice and aged care, that there were also hospital palliative care teams providing expertise within the acute care setting.

"For many the first time of learning that they have a life limiting disease, entering a palliative care phase of illness or indeed the last-days-of-life can be within the hospital environment and this should not be forgotten in terms of on-going provision of palliative care."

Pickthorne said the funding boost would definitely be discussed at the Palliative Care Nurse society's two-yearly conference being held in Wellington in early November.  The society is open to all nurses who have an interest in palliative care or work within a specialist palliative care setting.

BUDGET ANNOUNCEMENT DETAILS:

  • Palliative care has increased funding of $13 million a year for improving hospice community palliative care services to better support the terminally ill at home and in residential aged care.
  • Plus new money to employ up to 60 new palliative nurse specialists and educators and other roles at hospices. ($3.1 million this year and $7 million a year for the next three years).

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