Challenges Associated with Anticipatory Medications in Rural and Remote Settings

Hanan Khalil, Peter Poon, Anny Byrne, Eli Ristevski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Anticipatory medications (AM) have been widely used in various settings across many countries in people approaching end of life. Access to palliative care in rural and remote areas of Australia is lacking as are other medical services when compared with the metropolitan setting. Our aim is to identify challenges with the administration and access to AM in rural and remote communities with outcomes to guide improved delivery of care. METHODS: An online survey administered using Qualtrics, a secure survey platform was distributed to a total of 18 managers from 18 rural and remote organizations across the South East of Victoria in Australia. The survey was distributed to a total of 108 nurses working in these organizations. RESULTS: A total of 29 nurses completed the survey (response rate 28%). Most of the nurses were working in a mixed practice providing community palliative and district nursing. A significant number of nurses (n = 9, 31%) were working in remote settings and the remainder were located in regional areas. Almost a third of all nurses surveyed did not have specific guidance regarding the use of AM for their patients. Opioids (55%) were by far the most commonly used AM followed by antiemetics (45%). The most common decisions taken by nurses to administer AM were cited as patient deterioration or in their terminal phase with a fluctuating level of anxiety, and patients agitation. Access to AM and lack of staff education were major challenges in rural and remote areas. CONCLUSIONS: Provision of timely AM has the potential to improve the quality of life of patients and their caregivers. Key barriers to access AM can be overcome with community-level planning and nurses' education. Advanced nurses' roles have the opportunity to provide specialized care where access to specialist physicians is challenging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-301
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • anticipatory medications
  • community nursing
  • end of life
  • palliative care
  • rural and remote

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