Nurses caring for older people near the end of life can access up-to-the-minute clinical advice on the job, thanks to the development of a new smartphone app at Flinders.
palliAGEDnurse will be launched in Australia on International Nurses Day (12 May 2016) to help nurses give the best hands-on care for older people with palliative care needs.
Associate Professor Jennifer Tieman, director of CareSearch at Flinders University, says many nurses and health professionals are working in residential aged care, community care and general practice.
“The palliAGEDnurse app will support them in identifying changes and increasing their confidence in being able to deliver the palliative approach to care,” Associate Professor Tieman says.
She says technology plays an important role in the increasingly complex area of delivering quality palliative care to the elderly, both within the aged-care and hospital settings and in the home.
Delivered through the Discipline of Palliative and Supportive Services at Flinders University, the new app gives information on advance care planning, case conferencing, and terminal care planning via their phone at the point of care.
“The app provides a framework to help nurses working in aged-care centres, in primary or in the community to structure care over time, as well as providing details for the clinical processes,” Associate Professor Tieman says.
“It also has information specific to where they practice, in a residential aged-care facility, in the person’s home, or while the person is at the GP’s clinic.
“You can even access the information in the outback because a locally held version means you can continue to use it when you are out of internet range.
“When you are back in range, the app will prompt you to download any changes that have been made to the content.”
The new app caters for Australia’s large residential aged-care workforce of about (full-time equivalent) 13,939 Registered Nurses, 10,999 Enrolled Nurses, and 64,669 Personal Care Assistants. In the community care workforce there are 6544 RNs, 2345 ENs, and 41,394 PCAs (FTE positions).
palliAGEDnurse was developed by the CareSearch team at Flinders as part of the Decision Assist program, which is funded by the Australian Government to improve the end-of-life care of older Australian through advance care planning and palliative care advisory services.
It is a companion to the successful palliAGEDgp app and is available through Google Play and the App Store.
The Decision Assist Guidance and Technological Innovation Project, based at Flinders, has developed palliAGED smartphone app for GPs and now nurses, with almost 3000 downloads of the GP app since its launch in April 2015.
An offline-online solution supporting GPs who work in country and remote areas has also been developed.
“With the rapidly expanding knowledge base for clinical practice it can be challenging for health professionals – including nurses – to keep their knowledge and skills up to date,’’ Associate Professor Tieman says.
The Palliative and Supportive Services team at Flinders has been delivering online education to students in Australia and overseas for 15 years.
It manages a major web-based palliative care evidence and information resource called CareSearch for patients and their families and for health professionals. An online data management system supports data collection from sites across the country for the clinical trials.
The team has also explored the use of telehealth to remotely monitor patients living in the community through telehealth.