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Aust J Rural Health. 2016 Dec;24(6):350-356. doi: 10.1111/ajr.12313. Epub 2016 Jul 6.

Factors affecting rural volunteering in palliative care - an integrated review.

Author information

1
Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.
2
Nursing, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorne, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

To review factors shaping volunteering in palliative care in Australian rural communities using Australian and International literature. Identify gaps in the palliative care literature and make recommendations for future research. A comprehensive literature search was conducted using Proquest, Scopus, Sage Premier, Wiley online, Ovid, Cochran, Google Scholar, CINAHL and Informit Health Collection. The literature was synthesised and presented in an integrated thematic narrative. Australian Rural communities. While Australia, Canada, the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) are leaders in palliative care volunteer research, limited research specifically focuses on volunteers in rural communities with the least occurring in Australia. Several interrelated factors influence rural palliative care provision, in particular an increasingly ageing population which includes an ageing volunteer and health professional workforce. Also current and models of palliative care practice fail to recognise the innumerable variables between and within rural communities such as distance, isolation, lack of privacy, limited health care services and infrastructure, and workforce shortages. These issues impact palliative care provision and are significant for health professionals, volunteers, patients and caregivers. The three key themes of this integrated review include: (i) Geography, ageing rural populations in palliative care practice, (ii) Psychosocial impact of end-end-of life care in rural communities and (iii) Palliative care models of practice and volunteering in rural communities. The invisibility of volunteers in rural palliative care research is a concern in understanding the issues affecting the sustainability of quality palliative care provision in rural communities. Recommendations for future Australian research includes examination of the suitability of current models of palliative care practice in addressing the needs of rural communities; the recruitment, training, ongoing education and support of volunteers in rural palliative care provision to ensure equitable care for all communities in Australia regardless of location.

KEYWORDS:

carers; patient issues; rural palliative care; volunteering; workforce issues

PMID:
27385270
DOI:
10.1111/ajr.12313
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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