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An instrument to assess the education needs of nursing assistants within a palliative approach in residential aged care facilities


Karacsony, S and Good, A and Chang, E and Johnson, A and Edenborough, M, An instrument to assess the education needs of nursing assistants within a palliative approach in residential aged care facilities, BMC Palliative Care, 18 Article 61. ISSN 1472-684X (2019) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1186/s12904-019-0447-0


Background: Providing quality palliative care in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) (aged care homes) is a high priority for ageing populations worldwide. Older people admitted to these facilities have palliative care needs. Nursing assistants (however termed) are the least qualified staff and provide most of the direct care. They have an important role at the frontline of care spending more time with residents than any other care provider but have been found to lack the necessary knowledge and skills to provide palliative care. The level of competence of this workforce to provide palliative care requires evaluation using a valid and reliable instrument designed for nursing assistants' level of education and the responsibilities and practices of their role.

Method: The overall study purpose was to develop and test an instrument capable of evaluating the knowledge, skills and attitudes of nursing assistants within a palliative approach in RACFs. Development consisted of a four-phase mixed-methods sequential design. In this paper, the results and key findings following psychometric testing of the instrument in Phase 4 is reported using data collected from a random sample of 17 RACFs and 348 nursing assistants in the Greater Sydney region. Study hypotheses were tested to confirm discriminative validity and establish the utility of the instrument in both research and training assessment.

Results: Individual item properties were analysed for difficulty, discrimination and item-total correlations. Discriminative and structural validity, and internal consistency and test-retest reliability were demonstrated. Three separate questionnaires comprising 40 items were finalised: The Palliative Approach for Nursing Assistants (PANA)_Knowledge Questionnaire (17 items), the PANA_Skills Questionnaire (13 items) and the PANA_Attitudes Questionnaire (10 items).

Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence for the validity and reliability of three new questionnaires that demonstrate sensitivity for nursing assistants' level of education and required knowledge, skills and attitudes for providing a palliative approach. Implications for practice include the development of palliative care competencies through structured education and training across this workforce, and ongoing professional development opportunities for nursing assistants, especially for those with the longest tenure.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:attitudes, instrument, knowledge, nursing assistants, palliative approach, psychometry, residential aged care, skills
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Nursing
Research Field:Aged care nursing
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Community services
Objective Field:Ageing and older people
UTAS Author:Karacsony, S (Dr Sara Karacsony)
ID Code:134418
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Nursing
Deposited On:2019-08-13
Last Modified:2020-08-06
Downloads:18 View Download Statistics

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