A study of nurses’ knowledge of a palliative approach in residential aged care facilities


  • Susan Ronaldson BSc (Hons), PhD, RN, Dip NEd,

  • Lillian Hayes BA, Master of Public Health, PhD, RN, Dip Ed (Nursing), Dip Ed (Secondary),

  • Michele Carey Master of Nursing, RN, RCM, Oncology Nursing Certificate, Grad Dip HSc,

  • Christina Aggar BN (Hons), RN

Susan Ronaldson
Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery
The University of Sydney
88 Mallett Street
NSW 2050
Telephone: +61 02 93510603
E-mail: s.ronaldson@usyd.edu.au


Aim.  To identify residential aged care nurses’ current knowledge of palliative care for older residents in need of end-of-life care.

Background.  Recently, there has been a growing interest in the delivery of palliative care in residential aged care facilities. While it is recognized that aged care nurses do possess palliative care knowledge the actual level of their knowledge has not been well documented.

Design/method.  An analytical study using a validated questionnaire tool – Palliative Care Quiz for Nursing, developed by Ross et al. [Journal of Advanced Nursing23 (1996) 126–137], combined with a demographic survey of Registered Nurses and assistants in nursing working in five high care residential aged care facilities in inner city region of Sydney, Australia.

Results.  The total Palliative Care Quiz for Nursing score possible was 20. The mean score for Registered Nurses was 11.7 (SD 3.1) and for AINs 5.8 (SD 3.3), the difference between scores being significant (t = 8.7, df 95, P = 0.000). Misconceptions in palliative care were identified for both the groups of carers.

Conclusion.  This research has highlighted the need for ongoing palliative care education for both the groups of primary carers.

Relevance to clinical practice.  The findings of this research highlight the existing palliative care knowledge of residential aged care nurses and provides evidence for education programmes.