Background Traditional approaches to implementing best practice in aged care settings in Australia have relied heavily on ‘train the trainer’ models whereby existing staff act as champions for practice improvement. This has often proven to be overly burdensome on the trainers and ineffective in achieving best practice.
Aim To pilot an innovative and sustainable delivery model to facilitate and support evidence based practice improvement surrounding palliative and end-of-life care in aged care.
Methods The appointment of an expert nurse as ‘Palliative Approach Facilitator’ as an innovative approach to providing clinical support, education, leadership and professional role modelling at staff, facility and organisational level.
Results Positive results included: increased staff knowledge, understanding and confidence; improved person-centred approaches to advanced care planning and an enhanced team based approach to end-of-life care. Increased quality and use of advanced care planning, palliative care case conference and end of life care plans developed in collaboration with residents and families were also positive outcomes.
Discussion ‘Train the trainer’ education models in aged care can be challenged by a lack of resources and leadership. The palliative approach facilitator role, as expert nurse works to support, educate, mentor, and guide practice and was demonstrated in this study to improve staff confidence and knowledge, as well as increasing best practice, person-centred care planning, all necessary in the palliative approach journey.
Conclusion This new innovative approach to education and support in aged care is a powerful, sustainable and effective best practice implementation model which readily translates to other care settings.
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