Australian psychologists' perceptions on their role in end-of-life care of older adults

Kitty Vivekananda, Nathan McNamara, Perrin Chan, Chunyin Ma, Carlie Spinks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The role of the psychologist within End of Life (EOL) care is poorly established, despite calls for greater involvement from both Australian and international researchers. The current study aims to develop a deeper understanding of Australian psychologists' perceptions on their current and potential roles in EOL care. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with registered psychologists (N = 35), and thematic analysis was applied to these interviews to identify themes and subthemes pertaining to psychologists' understandings of their role in EOL care. Results: Six overarching themes were developed from the interview data: (a) Specific EOL Clients Assessment Skills; (b) Diverse and Multifaceted Interventions with Clients; (c) Skills Used in the Broader EOL system; (d) Barriers to Greater Visibility from Outside the Profession; (e) Barriers within the Profession; (f) Pathways to Greater Visibility. Conclusion: The potential exists for psychologists to improve psycho-social-spiritual-community outcomes at EOL and to meet the increasing demands of an ageing demographic with greater associated caregiver burden.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-728
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • ageing
  • end of life
  • palliative care
  • psychologists
  • training

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