Teaching carers to manage breakthrough symptoms using subcutaneous medicines can help prevent unwanted transfers to in-patient facilities for symptom control. In Australia, teaching carers is often an ad hoc process without the support of best-practice resources for carers.
caring@home, a national palliative care project, aimed to produce standardised, best-practice resources to support carers to help manage breakthrough symptoms safely using subcutaneous medicines.
The resources were developed from the Queensland-specific Caring Safely at Home resources with the following consultations:
caring@home resources are applicable to all jurisdictions in Australia and include resources for:
The outcomes of the project are being evaluated by University of Technology Sydney (UTS) via surveys and interviews with nurses and carers. Evaluation was approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee, UTS.
Pre-and post-online education surveys from nurses show that:
Carers who had given subcutaneous medicines reported the:
Implications for practice
The caring@home resources can be used by nurses to teach carers of palliative care patients to confidently manage subcutaneous medicines thereby helping the patient to be cared for, and to die, at home if that is their choice.
Carers can confidently help to manage breakthrough symptoms safely using subcutaneous medicines if provided with appropriate resources and training.
Australian Government, Department of Health