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Int J Palliat Nurs. 2002 Feb;8(2):88-98.

Nurses' attitudes to palliative care in nursing homes in Western Australia.

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  • 1School of Psychology, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia.


Nursing homes are one of the care settings in Western Australia where older people may spend their final years. Residents should be able to receive palliative care where appropriate, but this type of care is not always available at some nursing homes in the state. This study investigated nurses' attitudes to palliative care in nursing homes by examining their cognitive, affective and behavioural information. A sample of 228 nurses working in nursing homes completed a questionnaire, using a free response methodology. Results showed that participants had either a positive or negative attitude to palliative care. Cognitive and affective information significantly and independently predicted the attitudes of nurse, whereas knowledge of palliative care did not contribute significantly to these attitudes. Nurses currently working in palliative care were more positively disposed towards such care, but this disappeared when they ceased working in the area. There is an emphasis on education in the literature which does not take into account the beliefs and emotions of the nurse. Therefore, there is a need to consider these in undergraduate and postgraduate training for nurses. Current experience is also important in palliative care education. The results obtained from nurses in this study should be incorporated into policy for introducing palliative care into nursing homes and used to provide support and assistance to nurses working in this field.

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