Introduction : La médecine palliative est un "prendre soin" qui assure une optimisation de la qualité de vie des patients atteints d’une maladie incurable, non exclusivement lors de la phase terminale de leur maladie. L’objectif de recherche est de recueillir et d’analyser le regard sur les soins palliatifs de patients consultant chez le médecin généraliste. L’hypothèse de travail est que les soins palliatifs sont encore, a priori, trop souvent associés à la prise en charge de patients mourants, et leur utilité, à un stade précoce de la maladie en termes de soulagement des symptômes, semble méconnue.
Méthode : Éude qualitative par des entretiens semi-dirigés auprès de patients consultant chez leur médecin généraliste.
Résultats : Un total de 11 entretiens ont été menés. L’analyse thématique retrouvait 5 thèmes : la médecine palliative vue comme les soins palliatifs terminaux ; les soins palliatifs vus, comme un réel accompagnement ; l’évocation des soins palliatifs avait projeté les patients sur leurs propres peurs ; le regard des patients sur la démarche palliative, après les avoir informés ; et l’euthanasie.
Discussion : La médecine palliative est réduite aux soins palliatifs terminaux chez les patients, ce qui les a projetés vers leur propre mort. Nous savons qu’une appréhension des soins et des a priori négatifs ne permettent pas la meilleure alliance thérapeutique. Cette méconnaissance de la médecine palliative a été confronté à une connaissance de l’euthanasie, qui je le rappelle est interdite en France. Cependant, après informations ; les patients ont bien montré au cours de l’entretien leur intérêt pour une démarche palliative précoce dans le cadre d’une maladie incurable.
Introduction : Les personnes atteintes de cancer et vivant à domicile sont de plus en plus en nombreuses. Les proches aidants sont des acteurs importants auprès de la personne malade. Ils sont confrontés, à ce titre, aux douleurs cancéreuses sévères de leur proche. La douleur est l’un des symptômes les plus fréquents en cancérologie, souvent insuffisamment soulagée. L’objectif de cette étude était de mieux connaître la perception qu’ont les proches aidants de leur rôle à domicile, particulièrement vis-à-vis de la douleur liée au cancer et de ses traitements.
Méthode : Une étude qualitative a été menée au moyen d’entretiens semi-dirigés auprès de proches aidants de patients atteints d’un cancer en phase palliative spécifique ou symptomatique et présentant des douleurs nécessitant l’administration d’opioïdes. Les thèmes explorés ont été la communication, l’anticipation, la coordination, l’accompagnement et l’adaptation.
Résultats : Douze entretiens ont été réalisés. La plupart des proches aidants disent se rendre disponibles pour le confort du patient, la surveillance des symptômes et l’usage des opioïdes. Ces derniers sont sources de nombreux questionnements. En outre, les proches aidants se sentent responsables de tout faire et de s’organiser pour faire face à la douleur. Enfin, ils se considèrent comme les mieux placés pour soutenir au quotidien le patient, tant pour les aspects pratiques que socio-affectifs. Les professionnels de santé, en particulier les infirmiers libéraux, sont des éléments importants sur lesquels ils peuvent s’appuyer.
Discussion : L’enjeu pour les proches aidants est de conforter leur rôle dans le soulagement des douleurs du malade à domicile. Communiquer, coordonner les différents acteurs et participer aux prises de décision sont les moyens d’y parvenir mais ces fonctions sont variables dans le temps. Il convient de trouver l’équilibre dans la charge qui leur incombe. Cela invite les professionnels à être attentifs à leurs besoins en proposant une aide flexible et adaptée à chaque situation.
Palliative care has potential to improve quality of life and goal-concordant care for patients with adult congenital heart disease (ACHD). However, it is rarely employed prior to critical illness because the best methods for implementation are not well-defined. We qualitatively evaluated ACHD patients' understanding of and opinions regarding palliative care and advance care planning (ACP) to better define the needs of this population. We conducted a thematic analysis of 25 semi-structured interviews with patients with ACHD in which we assessed participants' perspectives on the need for, and barriers and facilitators to, the use of palliative care and ACP. In a group of participants with ACHD (mean age 38, 48% male) classified as simple (24%), moderate (32%), or complex (44%), we identified 4 major themes: 1) using knowledge to combat future uncertainties; 2) unfamiliarity with and limited exposure to palliative care and ACP; 3) facilitators and barriers to engaging in palliative care and ACP; and 4) importance of timing and presentation of ACP discussions. In conclusion, participants expressed a desire for knowledge about ACHD progression and treatment. They supported routine incorporation of palliative care and ACP and identified related facilitators and barriers to doing so. Importantly, timing and format of these discussions must be individualized using shared decision-making between clinicians, patients, and their families.
BACKGROUND: A critical barrier to improving the quality of end-of-life (EOL) cancer care is our lack of understanding of the mechanisms underlying variation in EOL treatment intensity. This study aims to fill this gap by identifying 1) organizational and provider practice norms at major US cancer centers, and 2) how these norms influence provider decision making heuristics and patient expectations for EOL care, particularly for minority patients with advanced cancer.
METHODS: This is a multi-center, qualitative case study at six National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) Comprehensive Cancer Centers. We will theoretically sample centers based upon National Quality Forum (NQF) endorsed EOL quality metrics and demographics to ensure heterogeneity in EOL intensity and region. A multidisciplinary team of clinician and non-clinician researchers will conduct direct observations, semi-structured interviews, and artifact collection. Participants will include: 1) cancer center and clinical service line administrators; 2) providers from medical, surgical, and radiation oncology; palliative or supportive care; intensive care; hospital medicine; and emergency medicine who see patients with cancer and have high clinical practice volume or high local influence (provider interviews and observations); and 3) adult patients with metastatic solid tumors and whom the provider would not be surprised if they died in the next 12 months and their caregivers (patient and caregiver interviews). Leadership interviews will probe about EOL institutional norms and organization. We will observe inpatient and outpatient care for two weeks. Provider interviews will use vignettes to probe explicit and implicit motivations for treatment choices. Semi-structured interviews with patients near EOL, or their family members and caregivers will explore past, current, and future decisions related to their cancer care. We will import transcribed field notes and interviews into Dedoose software for qualitative data management and analysis, and we will develop and apply a deductive and inductive codebook to the data.
DISCUSSION: This study aims to improve our understanding of organizational and provider practice norms pertinent to EOL care in U.S. cancer centers. This research will ultimately be used to inform a provider-oriented intervention to improve EOL care for racial and ethnic minority patients with advanced cancer.
Background: Advanced heart failure (AHF) carries a morbidity and mortality that are similar or worse than many advanced cancers. Despite this, there are no accepted quality metrics for end-of-life (EOL) care for patients with AHF.
Methods and Results: As a first step toward identifying quality measures, we performed a qualitative study with 23 physicians who care for patients with AHF. Individual, in-depth, semistructured interviews explored physicians' perceptions of characteristics of high-quality EOL care and the barriers encountered. Interviews were analyzed using software-assisted line-by-line coding in order to identify emergent themes. Although some elements and barriers of high-quality EOL care for AHF were similar to those described for other diseases, we identified several unique features. We found a competing desire to avoid overly aggressive care at EOL alongside a need to ensure that life-prolonging interventions were exhausted. We also identified several barriers related to identifying EOL including greater prognostic uncertainty, inadequate recognition of AHF as a terminal disease and dependence of symptom control on disease-modifying therapies.
Conclusions: Our findings support quality metrics that prioritize receipt of goal-concordant care over utilization measures as well as a need for more inclusive payment models that appropriately reflect the dual nature of many AHF therapies.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To describes nurses' moral experiences with Medical Assistance in Dying in the Canadian context.
BACKGROUND: Nurses perform important roles in Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada and do so within a unique context in which Medical Assistance in Dying is provided through healthcare services and where accessibility is an important principle. International literature indicates that participating in Medical Assistance in Dying can be deeply impactful for nurses and requires a high degree of moral sense-making.
DESIGN: A qualitative interview study guided by Interpretive Description using the COREQ checklist.
RESULTS: Fifty-nine nurses from across Canada participated in the study. The decision to participate in Medical Assistance in Dying was influenced by family and community, professional experience and nurses' proximity to the act of Medical Assistance in Dying. Nurses described a range of deep and sometimes conflicting emotional reactions provoked by Medical Assistance in Dying. Nurses used a number of moral waypoints to make sense of their decision including patient choice, control and certainty; an understanding that it was not about the nurse; a commitment to staying with patients through suffering; consideration of moral consistency; issues related to the afterlife; and the peace and gratitude demonstrated by patients and families.
DISCUSSION: The depth of nurses' intuitional moral responses and their need to make sense of these responses are consistent with Haidt's theory of moral experience in which individuals use reasoning primarily to explain their moral intuition and in which moral change occurs primarily through compassionate social interaction. Further, work on the moral identity of nursing provides robust explanation of how nurses' moral decisions are contextually and relationally mediated and how they seek to guard patient vulnerability, even at their own emotional cost.
CONCLUSION: Medical Assistance in Dying is impactful for nurses, and for some, it requires intensive and ongoing moral sense-making.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: There is a need to provide support for nurses' moral deliberation and emotional well-being in the context of Medical Assistance in Dying care.
This study aims to synthesize qualitative evidence about the bereavement experience of parents following the death of a child due to cancer. A qualitative metasynthesis was conducted from searching five databases. The search identified 650 articles that were independently assessed by two reviewers. Thirty-one articles were selected for full-text reading and assessed for eligibility; a total of 14 articles were included in the final sample and submitted to quality appraisal. The software NVivo® was used to organize the data and support the thematic analysis procedures. Two analytical themes were constructed: (1) losing a child and facing a rupture in identity and sense of life and (2) surviving grief and reengaging in life. The grief process was dynamic, continuous, and begun before the death of the child. Fathers and mothers reacted differently to the loss and experience of grief. The loss of a child definitively changed the parents' life and caused identity crisis and loss of life's purpose. During the process of survival, parents constructed new meanings that helped them cope with grief; they used strategies that allowed them to recover their sense of purpose in life. Synthesizing the experience of bereaved parents is essential to improve the support families of children with advanced cancer receive to better cope with their suffering and loss, before and after the child's death.
BACKGROUND: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is associated with an uncertain trajectory, which challenges prognostication and means that most patients are not involved in advance care planning and do not receive palliative and end-of-life care.
AIM: To understand the preferences of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for discussions about palliative and advance care planning with clinicians.
DESIGN: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Data analysis was guided by principles of interpretative phenomenological analysis, of which symbolic interactionism and interpretation principles were employed throughout.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: A total of 33 British patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at different stages of their disease trajectory were recruited.
RESULTS: Patients preferred to discuss palliative care with clinicians they perceived had greater levels of competency and authority in care and with whom they had an established relationship, usually a specialist. Patients favoured large amounts of information about treatments and care, but reported a lack of illness-related information and problems accessing appointments with clinicians. Consequently, patients deferred discussions to the future, usually once their condition had deteriorated significantly or planned to wait for clinicians to initiate conversations. This was not rooted in patient preferences, but related to clinicians' lack of time, absence of an established relationship and belief that appointments were for managing current symptoms, exacerbations and disease factors rather than future care and preferences.
CONCLUSION: Different perceptions, competing priorities and service rationing inhibit patients from initiating early discussions with clinicians, so palliative care conversations should be initiated by respiratory-expert clinicians who know the patient well. After a sudden deterioration in the patient's condition may be a suitable time.
Purpose: The purpose of the study is to capture goals expressed by older adults with functional limitations and their caregivers.
Methods: Through focus groups and interviews, 76 older adults with =1 activity of daily living limitation and 28 family/friend caregivers were asked about what mattered most to them and their goals for care. Transcripts were coded using an existing taxonomy. Goals that did not fit the taxonomy were assigned new codes.
Results: We identified more than 50 goals in eight domains. Domains included (a) Medical Care; (b) Quality of Life: Physical; (c) Quality of Life: Social and Emotional; (d) Access to Services and Supports; (e) Caregiver Needs and Concerns; (f) End of Life; (g) Independence; and (h) Acceptable Housing.
Conclusion: While there is overlap between identified goals and the existing taxonomy, new goals emerged. The goal domains identified could serve as a framework to improve and measure the quality of goal-oriented care for older adults with complex needs.
Delivering optimal end-of-life (EOL) care to children and adolescents is a healthcare priority, yet relatively little is known about what patients, families, and healthcare providers (HCPs) consider “best” practices. The objective of this study was to identify factors that pediatric oncology HCPs consider important for EOL care. This was a cross-sectional mixed methods study. Participants were multidisciplinary pediatric oncology staff who completed surveys and participated in semi-structured qualitative interviews. Interviews were analyzed using a modified grounded theory approach. Provider statements were compared based on years of experience (=10 or >10 years) and discipline (non-physician or physician). A total of n = 19 staff (74% female) enrolled, including physicians (n = 8), advanced practice providers (n = 4), nurses (n = 2), music/art therapists (n = 2), physical therapists (n = 1), educators (n = 1), and chaplains (n = 1). Most HCPs identified communication, symptom control, and acceptance as features of a “good” death. Compared to physicians, non-physicians focused on relationships (67% vs. 33%, p = 0.007); HCPs with =10 years of experience (n = 11) more frequently identified the benefits of a multidisciplinary team (74% vs. 26%, p = 0.004). This study identified many common HCP-defined components of “good” pediatric EOL care in addition to some differing perspectives depending on discipline and experience. Incorporating diverse HCP perspectives with those of the patient and family can guide contemporary high-quality pediatric EOL clinical care and education
BACKGROUND: Hospital palliative care is an essential part of the COVID-19 response, but relevant data are lacking. The recent literature underscores the need to implement protocols for symptom control and the training of non-specialists by palliative care teams.
AIM: The aim of the study was to describe a palliative care unit's consultation and assistance intervention at the request of an Infectious Diseases Unit during the COVID-19 pandemic, determining what changes needed to be made in delivering palliative care.
DESIGN: This is a single holistic case study design using data triangulation, for example, audio recordings of team meetings and field notes.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: This study was conducted in the Palliative Care Unit of the AUSL-IRCCS hospital of Reggio Emilia, which has no designated beds, consulting with the Infectious Diseases Unit of the same hospital.
RESULTS: A total of 9 physicians and 22 nurses of the Infectious Diseases Unit and two physicians of the Palliative Care Unit participated in the study.Our Palliative Care Unit developed a feasible 18-day multicomponent consultation intervention. Three macro themes were identified: (1) new answers to new needs, (2) symptom relief and decision-making process, and (3) educational and training issues.
CONCLUSION: From the perspective of palliative care, some changes in usual care needed to be made. These included breaking bad news, patients' use of communication devices, the limited time available for the delivery of care, managing death necessarily only inside the hospital, and relationships with families.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study is to elucidate the attitudes and knowledge of nursing home (NH) staff involved in the decision-making process surrounding tube feeding for people with advanced dementia, and regarding palliative care and eating difficulties in this population.
BACKGROUND: Dementia's final stage is associated with eating difficulties. "Comfort feeding" is the approach endorsed by the American Geriatrics society for those with advanced dementia and eating difficulties. Despite this, tube feeding remains a persisting practice in NHs in Israel.
DESIGN: Qualitative descriptive study.
METHODS: 27 NH employees from different sectors employed by seven NHs in Northern Israel underwent semi-structured, face-to-face interviews. The COREQ checklist was used to aid with reporting and analysis of results.
RESULTS: In Israel, there is an emerging palliative care discourse in caring for people with advanced dementia living in the NH setting. However, many interviewed didn't demonstrate an accurate understanding of this term or of the term "comfort feeding". Several barriers toward implementation of palliative care were identified and include a lack of formal education regarding nutrition in advanced dementia, socio-economic factors and their association with the two types of NHs operating in Israel (those with exclusively private funding, and those reimbursed by the Ministry of Health).
CONCLUSIONS: Interviews with NH staff regarding eating difficulties in advanced dementia shed light on the palliative care discourse, which is in a liminal stage in many countries. The themes which emerged may help inform future recommendations regarding palliative care in general and more specifically in NH residents with advanced dementia, in countries where policy is still being developed and refined.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Understanding barriers toward implementation of a palliative approach and comfort feeding specifically could improve the care for people with advanced dementia in the NH setting.
OBJECTIVES: A qualitative interpretive-systemic focus group study was conducted to examine the developmental and implementational underpinnings of Asia's first national Advance Care Planning (ACP) programme constituted in Singapore.
METHODS: 63 physicians, nurses, medical social workers, and allied health workers who actively rendered ACP were purposively recruited across seven major public hospitals and specialist centers.
RESULTS: Framework analysis revealed 19 themes, organized into 5 categories including Life and Death Culture, ACP Coordination, ACP Administration, ACP Outcomes, and Sustainability Shift. These categories and themes formed an Interpretive-Systemic Framework of Sustainable ACP, which reflects the socio-cultural, socio-political, and socio-spiritual contexts that influence ACP provision, highlighting the need to adopt a public health strategy for enhancing societal readiness for end-of-life conversations.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: The Interpretive-Systemic Framework of Sustainable ACP underscores the importance of health policy, organizational structure, social discourse, and shared meaning in ACP planning and delivery so as to support and empower care decision-making among terminally ill Asian patients and their families facing mortality.
Death doulas (DD) are working with people at the end of life in varied roles with more clarity needed around their role and place within the health and social care systems. The aim of this work is to explore the DD role in end-of-life care from the perspective of DDs. A sub-group of 20 DDs from a larger quantitative survey participated in semi-structured telephone Skype or Zoom interviews. Interview data were analysed using thematic analysis. Seven themes emerged from the qualitative analysis: what a DD offers, what a DD does, challenges and barriers, occupational preferences, family support, contract of service/fee and regulation. There is a general perception that healthcare professionals (HCP) do not understand what it is that DDs do; thus, the current study has helped to demystify the DD role and potentially reduce suspicion. The lack of a DD business model sees inconsistencies in what services each DD offers and what patients and families can expect. End of life is complex and confusing for patients and families and there is a need to further explore the DD role and how it can work when there are many inconsistencies in working practice. More research is required to look at the interplay among DDs, HCPs and palliative care volunteers in addressing the gaps in care provision and how these relationships might be more seamlessly managed.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Specialty palliative care for hospitalized patients with dementia is widely recommended and may improve outcomes, yet rates of consultation remain low. We sought to describe hospitalists' decision-making regarding palliative care consultation for patients with dementia.
DESIGN: Descriptive qualitative study.
SETTING: Seven hospitals within a national nonprofit health system.
PARTICIPANTS: Hospitalist physicians.
MEASUREMENTS: Individual semistructured interviews. We used thematic analysis to explore factors that influence hospitalists' decision to consult palliative care for patients with dementia.
RESULTS: A total of 171 hospitalists were eligible to participate, and 28 (16%) were interviewed; 17 (61%) were male, 16 (57%) were white, and 18 (64%) were in practice less than 10 years. Overall, hospitalists' decisions to consult palliative care for patients with dementia were influenced by multiple factors across four themes: patient, family caregiver, hospitalist, and organization. Consultation was typically only considered for patients with advanced disease, particularly those receiving aggressive care or with family communication needs (navigating conflicts around goals of care and improving disease and prognostic understanding). Hospitalists' limited time and, for some, a lack of confidence in palliative care skills were strong drivers of consultation. Palliative care needs notwithstanding, most hospitalists would not request consultation if they perceived families would be resistant to it or had limited availability or involvement in caregiving. Additional barriers to referral at the organization level included a hospital culture that conflated palliative and end-of-life care and busy palliative care teams at some hospitals.
CONCLUSION: Hospitalists described a complex consultation decision process for involving palliative care specialists in the care of patients with dementia. Systematic identification of hospitalized patients with dementia most likely to benefit from palliative care consultation and strategies to overcome modifiable family and organization barriers are needed.
BACKGROUND: Patients with advanced kidney disease are less likely than many patients with other types of serious illness to enroll in hospice. Little is known about real-world clinical decision-making related to hospice for members of this population.
METHODS: We used a text search tool to conduct a thematic analysis of documentation pertaining to hospice in the electronic medical record system of the Department of Veterans Affairs, for a national sample of 1000 patients with advanced kidney disease between 2004 and 2014 who were followed until October 8, 2019.
RESULTS: Three dominant themes emerged from our qualitative analysis of the electronic medical records of 340 cohort members with notes containing hospice mentions: (1) hospice and usual care as antithetical care models: clinicians appeared to perceive a sharp demarcation between services that could be provided under hospice versus usual care and were often uncertain about hospice eligibility criteria. This could shape decision-making about hospice and dialysis and made it hard to individualize care; (2) hospice as a last resort: patients often were referred to hospice late in the course of illness and did not so much choose hospice as accept these services after all treatment options had been exhausted; and (3) care complexity: patients' complex care needs at the time of hospice referral could complicate transitions to hospice, stretch the limits of home hospice, and promote continued reliance on the acute care system.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings underscore the need to improve transitions to hospice for patients with advanced kidney disease as they approach the end of life.
The translation of evidence-based interventions into routine hospice care is impeded by numerous barriers, including a disconnect between research priorities and clinical care. To inform the development of a more practice-informed agenda for hospice intervention research, our team conducted a qualitative descriptive study, posing the following research questions: 1) How do hospice staff members describe their most significant work-related challenges? and 2) What regulatory changes do hospice staff members report would most improve hospice care? To answer these research questions, we interviewed 22 hospice staff members and then conducted a template analysis of the interview content. In doing so, we identified themes that described challenges in 5 key areas: time, documentation, professional roles, recruitment and retention, and burn-out. In addition, we identified a perceived need among hospice staff members for more regulatory flexibility and clarity. Based on our findings, we conclude that a practice-informed agenda for hospice intervention research includes the development and testing of interventions that increase efficiency, explicitly speak to the humanity of hospice care, and elevate the roles of all members of the interdisciplinary team.
BACKGROUND: Patients with advanced disease often overestimate their life expectancy, which potentially impacts decision making.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the nature and source of hospice patients' life expectancy estimates, about which little is known.
DESIGN: Using semi-structured interviews, patients were asked to estimate their life expectancy and elaborate on their response.
SETTING/SUBJECTS: Participants were hospice patients (n = 20, 55% male; 60% cancer).
MEASUREMENT: We conducted thematic analysis using open and focused coding.
RESULTS: Many participants had difficulty answering the life expectancy question and expressed uncertainty about when they would die. One-third overestimated their length of life relative to actual survival. The most common source of patients' prognostic beliefs was knowledge about their body, including physical symptoms and change over time. Half of patients reported that a provider had given them a prognostic estimate, and one-third agreed with, or gave estimates consistent with, the provider's estimate. Some patients said providers do not know prognosis or that time of death was unknowable.
CONCLUSIONS: Key findings were that 1) many hospice patients had difficulty estimating life expectancy, and 2) hospice patients' life expectancy estimates were frequently based on their body and not on information from medical providers. These findings have implications for measuring prognostic awareness, as valid assessment is a necessary component of determining whether prognostic awareness is beneficial for patients. Future research should examine how life expectancy estimates are associated with well-being and whether results extend to larger samples of patients with advanced disease not in hospice.
BACKGROUND: A previous study found that care provided by a nurse practitioner (NP) during oncological or palliative care was highly regarded. These patients, however, were considered a special population due to suffering from life-threatening illnesses. It remains unclear whether the results are transferable to patients with chronic conditions. Patient's perceptions of the quality of NP care have reflected that it equals or exceeds that of physicians, but the root causes of these remarks remain unclear.
PURPOSE: To describe the difference in perception of NP care by patients suffering from chronic heart failure (CHF) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in contrast with NP oncological or palliative care.
METHODOLOGICAL ORIENTATION: A qualitative study from a phenomenological perspective was conducted. Data were analyzed using Colaizzi's seven-step method and the Metaphor Identification Procedure.
SAMPLE: In 2018 and 2019, 16 outpatients receiving CHF or IBD care were interviewed.
CONCLUSIONS: Although chronic and life-threatening diseases may differentiate patients' perspectives, it can be generally stated that patients value NPs to be reliable, helpful, and empathic. Patients feel empowered, at peace and in control thanks to integrated care by dedicated experts.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Outpatients highly appreciate the "communicator role" and "skilled companionship" performed by NPs, to fulfill their needs for attention to the "complete picture." Therefore, further consideration of these competencies is recommended.
Background: Transitioning from the hospital to community is a vulnerable point in patients' care trajectory, yet little is known about this experience within the context of palliative care. While some studies have examined the patient and caregiver experience, no study to date has synthesized the literature on the healthcare provider's perspective on their role and experience facilitating these transitions.
Aim: The purpose of this systematic review was to understand the experience and perspective of healthcare providers who support the transition of patients receiving palliative care as they move from acute care to community settings.
Design: A qualitative systematic review of studies using thematic analysis as outlined by Thomas and Harden. PROSPERO: ID # CRD42018109662.
Data sources: We searched four databases: MEDLINE, Embase, ProQuest and CINAHL for studies published in English from 1995 until May 22, 2020. Four reviewers screened records using the following selection criteria: (1) peer-reviewed empirical study, (2) adult sample, (3) qualitative study design, (4) perspective of healthcare providers, and (5) included a component of transitions between acute to community-based palliative care. Study findings were analyzed using thematic analysis which entailed: (1) grouping the findings into recurring themes; (2) iteratively referring back to the articles to obtain nuances of the theme and quotations; and (3) defining and solidifying the themes.
Results: Overall 1,791 studies were identified and 15 met inclusion criteria. Studies were published recently (>2015, n = 12, 80%) and used a range of qualitative methods including semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and field interviews. Three core themes related to the role and experience of healthcare providers were identified: (1) assessing and preparing for transition; (2) organizing and facilitating the logistics of transition; and (3) coordinating and collaborating transitional care across sectors. The majority of studies focused on the discharge process from acute care; there was a lack of studies exploring the experiences of healthcare providers in the community who receive patients from acute care and provide them with palliative care at home.
Conclusion: This review identified studies from a range of relatively high-income countries that included a diverse sample of healthcare providers. The results indicate that healthcare providers experience multiple complex roles during the transition facilitation process, and future research should examine how to better assist clinicians in supporting these transitions within the context of palliative care provision.