Oral Presentation Palliative Care Nurses Australia Conference 2020

Evaluating education needs with the Palliative Approach for Nursing Assistants (PANA)Questionnaires: Recommendations (70396)

Sara Karacsony 1 , Esther Chang 2 , Anthony Good 2 , Amanda Johnson 3 , Michel Edenborough 4
  1. University of Tasmania, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  2. School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  3. School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, Australian Catholic University, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  4. School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Western Sydney University, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Background:  Older people with palliative care needs entering residential aged care facilities (RACFs) are highly dependent on skilled, compassionate nursing care. Whether a palliative approach is required on admission or at some later stage, nursing assistants (care staff) will be involved in providing for their comfort when residents are approaching end of life and when they are actively dying. As nursing assistants are the largest component of the aged care workforce, their education and skill development is a high priority for the sector. To identify education gaps which impact on nursing assistants’ capacity to provide care, three Palliative Approach for Nursing Assistants (PANA) questionnaires were developed. These tools were designed to elicit the knowledge, skills and attitudes nursing assistants need to perform their role providing palliative care.

Method: A four-phase sequential mixed-methods design was used to develop the PANA questionnaires. Psychometric testing of the three PANA tools was conducted on data collected from a random sample of 348 nursing assistants from 17 RACFs in the Greater Sydney region. Participants were allocated to one of three groups at time of completion of the questionnaires.

Results:  Participants performed well overall when measured with a tailored instrument developed for their scope of practice and demonstrated a range of scores from low to high across the knowledge, skills and attitudes items. Experience in role, rather than level of education resulted in higher knowledge and a significant difference in attitude scores across the three groups of nursing assistants. No difference was detected in the self-perceived skills of nursing assistants across level of experience.

Conclusions: Skill development and the adoption of palliative care core competencies through structured education across this workforce is recommended to support the development of a care workforce that is appropriately qualified to contribute to the provision of high quality palliative care for older people in RACFs.