Palliative care is proactive care which tries to maximize quality of life for people and families facing life threatening illnesses. Death is recognized as a part of life where opportunities remain for personal growth and social contributions. Specialist palliative care nurses bring unique skills and qualities that enhance the care and support provided to people facing the end of life and to the families and communities that support them. These skills and qualities are developed through many years of interdisciplinary clinical practice and continuing education and they are informed by the founding philosophies of palliative care. Specialist palliative care nurses knowledge of end of life issues and combined with a strong commitment to the palliative care ethic, usually extends the work of the specialist nurses beyond the bedside to advocating the need for palliative care on the sociopolitical level, and to promoting optimal well-being at the end of life regardless of a patients location or financial position. Palliative care nurses are also advocates for the families and friends of palliative care patients, and by promoting and teaching positive approaches to grieving they extend the benefit of palliative care to bring health to the wider community. Whereas the contribution of all nurses to the care of people at the end of life is important, palliative care is extended and strengthened by the knowledge and advocacy work of specialist palliative care nurses.
Last date updated on July, 2014