Residents are now admitted to residential aged care with very high needs, with many requiring end-of-life care. The number of deaths in New Zealand requiring palliative care is projected to increase by around 50 per cent to over 37,000 per annum over the next 20 years. More than a third of those deaths will be in aged residential care facilities.

In an article published earlier this year Dr Merryn Gott argued that caregivers are a vital part of the palliative care workforce and need to be adequately trained.

Careerforce, with the support of Hospice New Zealand, is helping to meet this need by creating an assessment package to recognise the competency of the workforce providing palliative and end of life care.

Careerforce is offering a learning support and assessment package for people supporting a person with palliative and end of life care. The package is comprised of two unit standards which contribute towards the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 3) and the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4) Advanced Support. The two units can also be completed as a standalone package.

Gill Genet, Careerforce General Manager for Business Development, is excited at the potential of this work. She sees the partnership as utilising the expertise of both organisations in contributing to the provision of quality palliative and end of life care to all New Zealanders.

“Hospice New Zealand has a robust Fundamentals of Palliative Care programme that is delivered by hospices throughout the country. For people who have attended the hospice run programme, and wish to gain formal recognition of their learning, Careerforce has developed an assessment package that is part of the Qualifications Framework,” says Genet.

Project Leader and Hospice New Zealand spokesperson, Chris Murphy says Hospice New Zealand supports Careerforce’s work as it aligns with their commitment to increasing workforce capability.

“We support Careerforce’s work in enabling support workers to access a pathway towards nationally recognised qualifications to advance their role and improve their practice in the workplace.”

“Education and training enables workers with specific knowledge and skills to provide safe and effective care to the people they are working with. It also ensures they are confident and competent in their support and caring role.

“Collaborative healthcare partnerships are a key component of providing person-centred palliative and end of life care for people with a life-threatening illness whilst supporting family and whānau. Working with a multidisciplinary team of health professionals and providers ensures people have access to good quality and appropriate care, by the right people, at the right time in the setting of their choice. This requires the sharing of knowledge and skills to meet the needs of all people as they approach the end of life,” says Murphy.

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