The role of the home-care worker in palliative and end-of-life care in the community setting: a literature review

Devlin, Margaret; McIlfatrick, Sonja
November 2009
International Journal of Palliative Nursing;Nov2009, Vol. 15 Issue 11, p526
Academic Journal
The majority of people would prefer to die at home if assured of high quality care and proper support for their families and informal carers. Home-care workers play a vital role in enabling patients to be cared for in their own homes; however, there is a lack of research on their role, focusing specifically on palliative and end-of-life care. A broad literature search was undertaken as part of a research study to explore the role of home-care workers in palliative and end-of-life care in the community. Key questions for the review included: exploring the role of home-care workers; factors that affect this role and examining training and support needs of home-care workers in providing palliative: and end-of-life care in the community. Positive aspects of their contribution were identified in terms of providing physical and social support, and having a key role to play in caring for patients at home. However, several studies highlighted negative aspects of the role, including limited availability of services, lack of continuity of care, time constraints, lack of flexibility and poor quality of communication with other services.


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