End of Life Law for Clinicians: Improving nurses’ and allied health professionals’ end of life practice

Ms Penny Neller1

1Australian Centre For Health Law Research, QUT, Brisbane, Australia

Clinical practice at the end of life can be challenging, especially when it involves interaction with the law. Though medical practitioners, nurses and allied and other health professionals play critical clinical and legal roles when providing palliative and end of life care, research has revealed many clinicians have significant legal knowledge gaps. It has also shown clinicians believe law has a place in clinical practice and decision-making; and want to learn more about the law.

Now in its second phase, End of Life Law for Clinicians (ELLC) is a free national training program for doctors, medical students, nurses, and allied and other health professionals. It aims to improve clinicians’ knowledge and awareness of end of life law; access to legal information; and confidence applying the law in practice.

This presentation reports on the development of the training for ELLC’s newest clinical audiences: nurses, allied health professionals, and other health professionals (including paramedics and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals). This process included mapping of key end of life law issues for these groups, a literature review, development of design principles, stakeholder consultation, content development, focus groups, and training launch.

User data about these new cohorts from pre-training surveys will also be presented, including data on levels of legal knowledge (data forthcoming from August 2021).


Penny Neller is a Project Coordinator with the Australian Centre for Health Law Research, QUT. She manages the National Palliative Care Project End of Life Law for Clinicians, a training program for health professionals about the law at end of life. She is also the End of Life Law Toolkit developer for End of Life Directions for Aged Care. Penny is a co-author of the End of Life Law in Australia website, an online resource for the community that provides information about end of life law in each Australian State and Territory.

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