An evaluation of aged-care workers' knowledge of and attitudes towards the palliative approach

Publication Date



This study, a cross-sectional survey, evaluated the knowledge of the palliative approach to care of an entire care workforce in an Australian residential aged-care organization (n = 116, 30% response rate). Knowledge deficits were found at all staff levels: RNs lacked a full comprehension of pain and symptom management, and personal care attendants’ knowledge scores were not statistically different from those of ancillary staff. RN division 1 reported a more positive attitude toward caring for dying patients than other staff groups. Increasing experience in the field was found to be the main determinant of knowledge of, and attitudes toward, the palliative approach, while increasing hours of palliative care education and higher post-school educational level conferred some benefit. Study findings provide strong impetus for education in the palliative approach to care for the entire interdisciplinary team. With targeted education and support, older residents’ needs for a palliative approach to care can be identified by all members of the care team, and appropriate response and/or referral can be achieved.


School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedicine

Document Type

Journal Article

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ERA Access