Thursday, 21 March, 2019

More nurses need palliative care training: THL

15 Feb 2019, 19:34 ( 1 Month ago) | updated: 15 Feb 2019, 21:58 ( 1 Month ago)

DF Report
Photo City of Helsinki by Laura Oja.

Nursing professionals in Finland and in Europe as well need more training in palliative and terminal cares, said the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in a press release.

Palliative care refers to end-of-life care. Terminal care is its final phase during the last weeks or days of a patient's life.

The National Institute for Health and Welfare participated in an international project (Palliative Care for Older People in Care and Nursing Homes in Europe, or PACE) which studied nursing staff’s palliative care competence in six European countries- Belgium, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom.

Using statements about pain and nutrition, the study examined nurses’ basic knowledge of palliative care for older persons.

While more than 0.5 percent of the nurses already had basic or continued training in palliative care, the study showed that there was significant room for improvement in their basic knowledge in all countries.

In this comparison, Finnish nursing staff’s basic knowledge of palliative care was average. Nurses had the best knowledge in Belgium, while particular room for improvement was found in Italy and Poland.

“We need more palliative care training in Finland. Currently, the curricula of education programmes in social welfare and health care do not contain sufficient training in palliative care, and the instruction is not consistent at the national level”, said Marika Kylänen, Country Leader of the PACE project from the National Institute for Health and Welfare.

Units providing 24-hour care look after older persons in increasingly poor condition who are approaching death. A precondition for high-quality end-of-life care is sufficient numbers of trained personnel. Attention should be paid to personnel competence and the staffing rate, especially in terminal care, to guarantee that every patient can have a dignified death and that they will not be left alone.

Specific questions related to pain were also used to investigate the nurses’ competence. In all countries, the participants had a good understanding of how physical factors, including joint pain or constipation, affect pain.