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A ‘first’ for Australian palliative care

South Australian not for profit aged and community care provider, Resthaven, now reportedly has the first palliative care nurse practitioner in Aged Care employed by an aged care provider in Australia.
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South Australian not for profit aged and community care provider, Resthaven, now reportedly has the first palliative care nurse practitioner in Aged Care employed by an aged care provider in Australia.

Peter Jenkin (pictured left, with Mark Butler, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, and Resthaven chief executive, Richard Hearn at Resthaven Malvern) was endorsed as a palliative care nurse practitioner in aged care by the Australian Health Professions Regulatory Authority (AHPRA) on 17 May.

His endorsement gives Resthaven residents and clients’ access to advanced and extended clinical care to provide the best outcomes for end of life care.

Resthaven chief executive, Richard Hearn, said Resthaven had long been involved in supporting best practice in aged care, and this was the next important progression in the development of the organisation’s services.

Mr Jenkin began at Resthaven last year as a palliative care nurse practitioner candidate, funded through the federal government’s national Nurse Practitioner – Aged Care Models of Practice Program.

His new role as palliative care nurse practitioner aims to support people who are in the end phase of the ageing process, including people with dementia and other chronic health conditions.

“The palliative care nurse practitioner role includes managing complex physical and psychosocial problems, participating in or facilitating advance care planning and palliative care case conferences, and managing the terminal, end of life care of residents and clients,” Mr Jenkin said.

“Where necessary, this may involve prescribing medications, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests or referring to other health care professionals,” he added.

The palliative care nurse practitioner works collaboratively with medical and allied health professionals.

Mr Jenkin has worked in various clinical roles in Palliative Care for more than 15 years, particularly in specialist community services. In 1999, he jointly developed the palliative care 'link nurse' role in residential aged care. In 2000, he was awarded the SA Premier’s Nursing Scholarship allowing him to travel to the UK to investigate the interface between residential aged care and palliative care, as well as the developing roles of nurse practitioners.

Mr Jenkin’s appointment came as National Palliative Care Week ended last week.

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