All areas of nursing care demand a holistic approach but perhaps none more so than palliative and end of life care – and it’s the opportunity to care for the whole person in the last days of life that attracts me to this area of nursing practice
Presently I’m working on research projects that are focused on keeping people fully involved in decisions about their care and treatment. For example, one piece of research is looking at how young people with life-limiting conditions can benefit from something called a ‘Healthcare Passport’ – a sort of patient-held record that is intended to help them communicate well with health professionals. Another project is investigating the use of ‘advance care plans.’ An advance care plan is simply a process where a patient and their family discuss their future care with the health professionals looking after them. Then the plan can be used to help guide care if the patient is unable to speak for themselves. The results from these studies are intended to help health professionals, patients, and their families work together to make sure the patient gets the best care – and the care that they really want – as they manage a serious illness and approach the end of their lives.
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