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Margaret Devlin, Sonja McIlfatrick
International Journal of Palliative Nursing, Vol. 16, Iss. 4, 23 Apr 2010, pp 195 - 203

Home-care workers play a vital role in enabling patients to be cared for in their own homes; however, there is a lack of research on their role. The aim of this study was to explore the role of home-care workers in palliative and end-of-life care in the community. A mixed methods approach was used with two key phases. Phase one comprised a cross-sectional survey to home-care workers and phase two involved a focus group with community nurses. It was found that home-care workers considered palliative and end-of-life care as an important part of their role, and that while it was more stressful than routine work, it was nevertheless very rewarding. While the home-care workers demonstrated that their role incorporated a genuine caring dimension, they identified the need for additional support in the provision of end-of-life care, specifically during out-of-hours. Various restricting factors such as training deficits, need for support and supervision and communication issues were also identified. .

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