Closing the mental health treatment gap in palliative care

Julianne Whyte, Janelle Thomas, Kirsty Smith, Janelle Wheat

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Research shows there is a skills gap in the health workforce who care for terminally ill and palliative patients when it comes to identifying and addressing patients’ mental health (MH) concerns. The ‘Listen Acknowledge Respond’ (LAR) project was established to fill this gap by developing and delivering training for healthcare professionals (HCP) to address the MH needs of those living with dying, as well as investigating the impact of the training on HCP’s practice.

Surveys of HCP pre-training show 75% regularly screen for MH issues, yet nearly half of respondents are not confident applying the two most commonly used diagnostic tools. In addition, mindfulness and strengths practice are the most commonly used therapeutic approaches, with about 50% of respondents using these regularly with their patients and their caregivers, however only about half of respondents feel confident using these approaches.

Post-training surveys and phone interviews with HCP who attended the LAR workshops show HCP’s self-reported knowledge, skills and confidence in using MH tools and therapies has increased significantly since participating in the LAR training. This presentation will provide an overview of survey and interview findings conducted pre-training (baseline) and 3 and 6-months post-training.

Providing targeted training to HCP is an important approach to bridging this gap between mental and physical health service provision, and to improve the welfare of these patients along with their families and caregivers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 06 Sept 2017
EventAustralian Palliative Care Conference: 17APCC - Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 06 Sept 201708 Sept 2017 (Conference website) (Conference information)


ConferenceAustralian Palliative Care Conference
Abbreviated titleConnection with Community
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Closing the mental health treatment gap in palliative care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this