Nurse Practitioner Leane Mathias

Meet Leane Mathias, nurse practitioner in palliative care on the North Shore

Leane Mathias is a nurse practitioner (NP) working in palliative care on the North Shore. As part of a supportive team of physician colleagues she provides consultations, crisis management, and symptom management for patients in the palliative care program.

“Living with a life limiting condition, or caring for a loved one in that situation, can be a very difficult and stressful time for people,” says Leane.

Just getting to and from their appointments can be exhausting and often impossible for a palliative care client, explained Leane. So access to a continuity of medical care in their own environment can make their end-of-life journey much more comfortable.

About 70 per cent of patients say they wish they could be at home for end of life if they had the necessary supports. The North Shore Palliative Care Team has been working to identify and register patients earlier on in their palliative journey to help facilitate this wish.

“As a nurse practitioner, being able to support these patients and families at home is incredibly rewarding,” Leane said.

Leane works closely with palliative physicians and homecare nurses. She collaborates with family doctors and works with the emergency department and acute care to support patients being discharged home to the community.

“By identifying and supporting families early on, we are able to involve the necessary supports and create an environment in which home deaths can happen.  We are able to provide better symptom management and help patients and families have conversations and make decisions that are right for them.”

The addition of prescribing controlled substances to nurse practitioners’ scope of practice last year in BC has been instrumental in this. Previously, this was a barrier to NPs working to a full scope of practice in palliative care. Leane hopes to see more NPs working on palliative care teams around the province.

Prescribing Methadone for pain is next on Leane’s wish list for scope of practice, and there is currently work being done to make this a reality.

Facts about Nurse Practitioners (NPs):

  • NPs prescribe medications including controlled ones like morphine and Suboxone ®
  • NPs practice in both primary and acute care settings
  • NPs are autonomous practitioners (do not require physician supervision)
  • NPs work shifts including evenings, weekends and on-call groups

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