Palliative Care NSW Volunteer Support Services Programme

Volunteering research highlights complexity of palliative care in rural areas

A recent paper by academics from Monash University and Swinburne University of Technology highlights the complexities of palliative care in rural communities, and the need to more deliberately integrate palliative care volunteers into service delivery.

Dawn Whittall, Susan Lee and Margaret O’Connor searched across databases to extract information about the challenges of rural palliative care, and specifically that affecting volunteer participation.

Their report, Factors affecting rural volunteering in palliative care an integrated review was accepted for publication in the Australian Journal of Rural Health.

In it the researchers identified issues relating to geography, psychosocial support and models of practice in rural communities as significant challenges for rural palliative care. Added to this, there was a lack of clear evidence that the role of volunteers within palliative care is well adopted.

They noted that “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”.

The report recommends further Australian research to consider models of care and volunteer engagement in rural palliative care settings, as a means of ensuring more equitable care.

Click here to go to the Australian Journal of Rural Health website.


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