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Educational needs: palliative care link nurses in care homes
  1. Lynne Partington,
  2. Helen Langhorn and
  3. Katherine Froggatt
  1. Lynne Partington is Senior Lecturer and Practitioner at Cheshire Hospices Education, Winsford, Cheshire; Helen Langhorn is Clinical Nurse Specialist in Community Palliative Care, Countess Mountbatten House, Southampton; Katherine Froggatt is Senior Lecturer, International Observatory on End of Life Care, Lancaster University, Lancaster. Email: lynne-p{at}che.org.uk

Abstract

Many frail older people are being cared for in care homes until their death. Nurses who work in these environments are looking after residents with increasingly complex needs. Care home staff may benefit from the inclusion of palliative care support within their practice. Palliative care support may be encouraged in a number of ways. It needs to be responsive, flexible and appropriate to the individual client. One approach to encourage the inclusion of palliative ideals within care home practice is to create links between care homes and palliative care services. This article identifies and discusses the role of the link nurse. A link nurse usually works in a general health setting, developing a specific interest in another area in order to ‘link’ that interest to his or her own practice area. The article describes two link nurse schemes that were developed in response to local needs, outlining their format and structure. The article also presents the benefits and challenges of the establishment and maintenance of such schemes. Conflicts of interest: none

  • Care homes
  • End-of-life care
  • Link nurses
  • Older people
  • Palliative care

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