Abstract

Demand for palliative care services in Canada will increase owing to an aging population and the evolving role of palliative care in non-malignant illness. Increasing healthcare demands continue to shape the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) role, especially in the area of palliative care. Clinical nurse specialists bring specialized knowledge, skills and leadership to the clinical setting to enhance patient and family care. This paper highlights the clinical leadership role of the CNS as triage leader for a hospital-based palliative care consulting team. Changes to the team's referral and triage processes are emphasized as key improvements to team efficiency and timely access to care for patients and families.