Community palliative care: role perception

Posted 17th June 2010

Jane Melvin, CMSUK Board, has kindly provided us with an article published by the British Journal of Community Nursing, for which she is co-author/researcher.  An excerpt of the article is provided in the newsletter, with a link to the full article in our document library.

Community nurses play a key part in palliative care for patients and their families, yet there is relatively little research examining how their role is understood by nurses themselves.  This paper presents findings from a qualitative study exploring how district nursing teams and community matrons (CMs) understood their own and each other's roles in palliative care.  Twenty-four district nurses (DNs), 15 CMs and seven other key stakeholders were interviewed. DNs saw themselves as having a pivotal role, often coordinating other services as well as providing hands-on care.  CMs agreed with the importance of the DN role, but had doubts about whether DNs had the capacity or skills to provide genuine case management.  Both sets of nurses varied in their views of the CM role in palliative care, from seeing it as negligible to extensive and valuable.  Organizational change contributed to the defensiveness of many DNs about their role, and to CMs' experiences of suspicion towards theirs.


The crucial role played by CMs in caring for terminally ill patients at home is widely recognized, both in policy documents such as the End of Life Care (EoLC) Strategy (Department of Health (DH), 2008) and in academic research.  The present paper describes a study that explored the roles of different types of CM in palliative care, with a particular focus on the collaborative nature of practice in this area.  Before examining the literature relating to this topic, the authors will present an overview of key policy initiatives and related organizational changes that form a crucial context for the research.

For the full article please go to

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Summer 2010 CMSUK Newsletter

Another newsletter another government, and the NHS looks set to be reshaped and repackaged, whether anything good will come out of this, who knows, but already health professionals have been warning me about budget cuts in their departments which are likely to affect my clients.&...

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