Exploring the nurse practitioner role in palliative care in New Brunswick

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University of New Brunswick


Every individual will die, and people have a right to end-of-life (EOL) care. This natural life progression demands to be supported and managed by proficient, caring health care providers to deliver quality EOL care, both in the hospital and community setting (Heyland et al. 2010). In New Brunswick (NB), barriers at EOL care include a lack of access to primary care providers, limited knowledge or practice in the delivery of such care, and a lack of palliative care services available for dying patients. Nurse Practitioner (NP) practice includes management of all the domains of health by addressing psychological, social and spiritual distress, as well as the relief and management of physical symptoms throughout the illness trajectory. The evidence available clearly supports the NP as an integral provider in palliative care management and one who can bring much expertise to the interprofessional team whether in the institutional, community or primary health care settings. Research exploring how NPs can be integrated as active participants in interdisciplinary palliative care teams and in NB’s Extra Mural program is necessary to address gaps in care, accessibility to palliative care and to develop strategies for patients’ increased quality of life at EOL.