Canadian palliative care society offers new integrative staffing model

The Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians developed a new staffing model for specialist palliative care teams that can deliver an optimal, integrated palliative care program, according to a new paper published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

The model is based on three interdependent roles, palliative care physician, palliative care resource nurse, and social workers, according to the abstract. The broader interprofessional team, in which primary care physicians, nurses, and social workers play a central role, will also include therapists, pharmacists, home healthcare workers, and others.

All members of the team are interdependent and need to work collaboratively for this approach to be successful, the paper said. The article presents a detailed description of the model, the assumptions underlying the model, staffing requirements, and the clinical and non-clinical responsibilities of the team.

"Palliative care is a team sport,” said Charles von Guten, MD, PhD, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Palliative Medicine and vice president of medical affairs for Hospice and Palliative Medicine at OhioHealth in Columbus. “It's important to develop standards so palliative care isn't watered down and the impact diminished."

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