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The Carer Needs Support Tool in multidisciplinary community palliative care: does it work?
  1. Margaret O'Connor1,2 and
  2. Suzanne Peyton2
  1. 1 School of Nursing & Midwifery, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 Melbourne City Mission Palliative Care, North Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Margaret O'Connor, School of Nursing & Midwifery, Monash University, Melbourne 3199, Victoria, Australia; Margaret.oconnor{at}

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While family carers provide vital practical, social and emotional support,1 caring for a dying person in their own home has distinct issues and constraints, not the least the lack of guidance on the caring role and the negative impacts on the physical, emotional and social health of the carer.2 Support of carers is included in the Australian National Palliative Care Standards.3

The Carer Needs Support Tool (CSNAT), a validated and internationally recognised tool, was developed to help carers focus on their own needs, aside from the caring role.4 It is not a ‘form’ or ‘tick-list’; 14 broad domains enable carers to identify areas of support they require. The CSNAT can be incorporated into an assessment process, facilitated by the practitioner, but carer-led.4 It has traditionally been used in unidisciplinary case management, whereby a nurse or social worker manages the whole process. They introduce it during a visit, and encourage the carer to respond to the questions; a care plan is developed and reviewed at subsequent visits. Current literature assumes that continuity is ensured by one clinician across the whole process. It is unclear whether the CSNAT …

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  • Contributors SP led the project, including the staff survey. MOC and SP analysed the data and co-wrote the paper.

  • Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.