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District nurses and palliative care

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Palliative care education programmes significantly improve district nurses’ ability to deliver end-of-life care, suggests a UK study.

Over two years, London nurse researchers interviewed 374 district nurses who undertook national palliative care educational courses.

On completing the programmes, 86% of the nurses said their practice and competencies had improved, and 81% said they felt more confident in providing the service.

Nurses without district nursing qualifications and those who had never worked in specialist palliative care benefited most from the programmes, said the researchers.

‘Our findings suggest that educational programmes for district nursing teams should be an integral part of strategies to improve community palliative care,’ they said.

Journal of Advanced Nursing (2008) 63: 494-505

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