Role of the nurse practitioner in providing palliative care in long-term care homes

Int J Palliat Nurs. 2013 Oct;19(10):477-85. doi: 10.12968/ijpn.2013.19.10.477.


Aim: The purpose of this study, which was part of a large national case study of nurse practitioner (NP) integration in long-term care (LTC), was to explore the NP role in providing palliative care in LTC.

Methods: Using a qualitative descriptive design, data was collected from five LTC homes across Canada using 35 focus groups and 25 individual interviews. In total, 143 individuals working in LTC participated, including 9 physicians, 20 licensed nurses, 15 personal support workers, 19 managers, 10 registered nurse team managers or leaders, 31 allied health care providers, 4 NPs, 14 residents, and 21 family members. The data was coded and analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings: NPs provide palliative care for residents and their family members, collaborate with other health-care providers by providing consultation and education to optimise palliative care practices, work within the organisation to build capacity and help others learn about the NP role in palliative care to better integrate it within the team, and improve system outcomes such as accessibility of care and number of hospital visits.

Conclusions: NPs contribute to palliative care in LTC settings through multifaceted collaborative processes that ultimately promote the experience of a positive death for residents, their family members, and formal caregivers.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Death
  • Canada
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Personnel / psychology
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse Practitioners / psychology
  • Nurse Practitioners / statistics & numerical data*
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Homes
  • Palliative Care*
  • Physicians