6 minute Speed talk Palliative Care Nurses Australia Conference 2020

caring@home resources: Supporting nurses to teach carers to safely and confidently manage subcutaneous medicines (70335)

Elizabeth Reymond 1 , Karen Cooper 1 , Deborah Parker 2 , Serra Ivynian 2
  1. Brisbane South Palliative Care Collaborative, Metro South Health, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
  2. IMPACCT - Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia


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:

  • Focus group interviews with carers and nurses who had used the Queensland-specific resources
  • Steering Committee
  • Education Advisory Group – doctors, pharmacists, clinical nurse consultants and nurse practitioners with palliative care expertise and carers from every state and territory in Australia


caring@home resources are applicable to all jurisdictions in Australia and include resources for:

  • Organisations
  • Health care professionals
  • Carers


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:

  • Knowledge, skills and confidence improved significantly post-education
  • Attitude re the benefit of educating carers to give subcutaneous medicines improved significantly post-education
  • The new knowledge would be used in clinical practice.

Carers who had given subcutaneous medicines reported the:

  • caring@home resources and training were easy to understand and pitched at their level.
  • caring@home package helped reduce the stress of giving subcutaneous medicines and gave them the skills required to give subcutaneous medicines.
  • Training enabled them to safely prepare and give subcutaneous medicines and increased their confidence.
  • Training and caring@home package would be recommended to others.

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.

Funding acknowledgement

Australian Government, Department of Health