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.
Faire reconnaître le rôle central des aidants profanes et rappeler le caractère indispensable de leur contribution fait aujourd’hui partie des principaux besoins que les aidants revendiquent explicitement, tant vis-à-vis des professionnels avec qui ils collaborent, que vis-à-vis des pouvoirs publics. Dans un contexte de plus forte sensibilisation à leur égard, c’est aussi l’ambition de ce numéro de Gérontologie et société, qui se propose à la fois de définir et de renseigner ce que recouvre la notion de proches aidants auprès de personnes âgées mais également de comprendre la nature de leurs engagements et de leurs expériences. Comment ces aidants pensent-ils leur rôle et envisagent-ils leur situation ? Quels sont les ressorts et les logiques sociales qui déterminent leurs investissements et leurs manières d’aider ? Dans quelle mesure sont-ils épaulés et comment s’accommodent-ils des services qui leurs sont proposés ? Sur la base d’une sélection de 9 articles, retenus pour leur diversité d’approche disciplinaire et territoriale, les contributions présentes dans ce numéro offrent un témoignage concret du profil hétérogène de ces aidants, de l’extrême diversité des tâches qu’ils accomplissent mais aussi des difficultés qu’ils sont susceptibles de rencontrer au quotidien. Plus fondamentalement encore, ils interrogent la situation d’aide, l’intimité des relations entre aidants et aidés et démontrent l’impérieuse nécessité à poursuivre les efforts pour soutenir ces proches aidants dans leur travail quotidien d’accompagnement.
OBJECTIVES: We examined how caregivers who had cared for a relative at end of life (EoL) wished to be cared for in the event that they experienced advanced dementia or physical disability in the future, and what factors influenced their preferences for EoL care.
METHODS: In this mixed-methods study, 83 participants, recruited from multiple sources in Israel, were interviewed concerning socio-demographic factors, health status, past experience with EoL, preference for extension of life vs. quality of life (QoL), willingness to be dependent on others, and preferences for EoL care.
RESULTS: In case of advanced dementia, 58% preferred euthanasia or suicide; around a third chose those for physical disability. Care by family members was the least desired form of care in the advanced dementia scenario, although more desirable than institutional care in the physical disability scenario. QoL was rated as the highest factor impacting preferences for EoL care. Men demonstrated a higher preference than women for extension of life over QoL.
CONCLUSION: Our study points to the need for society to consider solutions to the request of participants to reject the type of EoL experienced by their relatives. Those solutions include investing in improving the quality of life at the end of life, and offering alternatives such as euthanasia, which a large proportion of our participants found ethically and medically appropriate within the current system of care in the event of severe physical disability, and more so in the event of advanced dementia.
BACKGROUND: Although family-centered communication about end-of-life care has been recognized to promote palliative-oriented care in nursing home (NH), how this communication may work is still unknown. Therefore, we explored the mechanisms by which end-of-life communication may contribute to palliative-oriented care in NH from the perspective of bereaved family carers.
METHODS: A descriptive qualitative design was performed. Interviews were conducted with 32 bereaved family carers whose relative had died between 45 days to 9 months prior from 13 different NHs. A two-steps analysis process firstly with deductive and then with inductive content analysis was adopted.
RESULTS: Four mechanisms by which end-of-life communication contributed to palliative-oriented care were identified: a) promoting family carers understanding about their relative's health conditions, prognosis, and treatments available; b) fostering shared decision-making between healthcare professionals and residents/family carers; c) improving knowledge of residents' preferences; and d) improving knowledge of family carers' preferences.
CONCLUSION: Clear and in-depth communication provides insight into residents' and family carers' preferences for care and treatment at the end-of-life, and increases understanding and shared decision-making.
Background: Family caregiving is common globally, but when a family member needs palliative and end-of-life care, this requires knowledge and expertise in dealing with symptoms, medication, and treatment side effects. Caring for a family member with advanced prostate cancer in the home presents practical and emotional challenges, especially in resource-poor contexts, where there are increasing palliative cases without adequate palliative care institutions.
Aim: The study explored palliative and end-of-life care experiences of family caregivers and patients living at home in a resource-poor context in Ghana.
Design: This is a qualitative study using thematic analysis of face-to-face interviews at two-time points.
Participants: Men living with advanced prostate cancer (n = 23), family caregivers (n = 23), healthcare professionals (n = 12).
Findings: Men with advanced prostate cancer face complex issues, including lack of access to professional care and a lack of resources for homecare. Family caregivers do not have easy access to professional support; they often have limited knowledge of disease progression. Patients have inadequate access to medication and other practical resources for homecare. Caregivers may be overburdened and perform the role of the patient’s ‘doctor’ at home-assessing patient’s symptoms, administering drugs, and providing hands-on care.
Conclusion: Home-based care is promoted as an ideal and cost-effective model of care, particularly in Westernised palliative care models. However, in resource-poor contexts, there are significant challenges associated with the implementation of this model. This study revealed the scale of challenges family caregivers, who lack basic training on aspects of caring, face in providing home care unsupported by healthcare professionals.
BACKGROUND: The attention of healthcare professionals is directed mainly towards the recipients of care and often insufficiently towards family carers. However, an effective collaboration between professionals and family carers is vital to provide quality palliative and end-of-life care. Such collaboration is under-studied in a palliative care context.
AIM: This study aimed to investigate how family carers of people who live at home with a life-limiting chronic illness experience and perceive collaboration with different healthcare professionals in the last phase of life.
DESIGN: Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with the primary family carers of people with a life-limiting chronic illness. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to analyse the data.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: A heterogeneous sample of 30 family carers of people with cancer, heart failure or dementia was recruited through a variety of care providers and services, in order to reflect the heterogeneity of caregiving in serious illness.
RESULTS: Five main themes emerged from interpretative phenomenological analysis that describe the quality of the collaboration between family carers and professionals: respecting family carers both as someone with care needs and as a member of the care team; the continuous availability and accessibility of healthcare professionals; the provision of information and communication including family carer issues; the coordination of care between all parties and contextual factors. The dominant experience by family carers was one of missed opportunities across these themes.
CONCLUSIONS: This qualitative study about the experiences and perceptions of family carers of people with a chronic life-limiting illness living at home regarding the collaboration with different healthcare providers in the last phase life, showed that family carers experience a lot of possibilities, but perceive missed opportunities as well, for healthcare professionals to effectively collaborate with them for palliative care.
OBJECTIVES: To report on direct experiences from advanced head and neck cancer patients, family carers and healthcare professionals, and the barriers to integrating specialist palliative care.
METHODS: Using a naturalistic, interpretative approach, within Northwest England, a purposive sample of adult head and neck cancer patients was selected. Their family carers were invited to participate. Healthcare professionals (representing head and neck surgery and specialist nursing; oncology; specialist palliative care; general practice and community nursing) were recruited. All participants underwent face-to-face or telephone interviews. A thematic approach, using a modified version of Colazzi's framework, was used to analyze the data.
RESULTS: Seventeen interviews were conducted (9 patients, 4 joint with family carers and 8 healthcare professionals). Two main barriers were identified by healthcare professionals: "lack of consensus about timing of Specialist Palliative Care engagement" and "high stake decisions with uncertainty about treatment outcome." The main barrier identified by patients and family carers was "lack of preparedness when transitioning from curable to incurable disease." There were 2 overlapping themes from both groups: "uncertainty about meeting psychological needs" and "misconceptions of palliative care."
CONCLUSIONS: Head and neck cancer has a less predictable disease trajectory, where complex decisions are made and treatment outcomes are less certain. Specific focus is needed to define the optimal way to initiate Specialist Palliative Care referrals which may differ from those used for the wider cancer population. Clearer ways to effectively communicate goals of care are required potentially involving collaboration between Specialist Palliative Care and the wider head and neck cancer team.
Effective communication is the foundation of quality care in palliative nursing. As frontline palliative home care providers, nurses could foster more effective bereavement coping skills through therapeutic conversations. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a nursing intervention offered to bereaved family cancer caregivers. This was a quasi-experimental design, with a posttest-only comparison of the intervention and control groups receiving usual care. Bereaved caregivers (n = 51) receiving services from a specialized palliative home care unit participated and completed measures of depression, anxiety, stress, and grief reactions 3, 5, and 6 months after their close relative had died.
There was a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms in the intervention group compared with the control group across all 3 time points. Anxiety and stress symptoms also decreased over time in the 2 groups combined, but this decrease was not observed for depression. When evaluating grief reactions, the intervention group had a lower mean of controlled grief responses, across the posttest period, than the control group.
Results demonstrate that providing bereaved family caregivers the opportunity to participate in a therapeutic conversation intervention might reduce distressing symptoms in early bereavement.
BACKGROUND: Although Motor Neurone Disease (MND) caregivers are most challenged physically and psychologically, there is a paucity of population-based research to investigate the impact of bereavement, unmet needs, range of supports, and their helpfulness as perceived by bereaved MND caregivers.
Methods: An anonymous national population-based cross-sectional postal and online survey of bereavement experiences of family caregivers who lost a relative/friend to MND in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Recruitment was through all MND Associations in Australia.
Results: 393 valid responses were received (31% response rate). Bereaved caregiver deterioration in physical (31%) and mental health (42%) were common. Approximately 40% did not feel their support needs were met. Perceived insufficiency of support was higher for caregivers at high bereavement risk (63%) and was associated with a significant worsening of their mental and physical health. The majority accessed support from family and friends followed by MND Associations, GPs, and funeral providers. Informal supports were reported to be the most helpful. Sources of professional help were the least used and they were perceived to be the least helpful.
Conclusions: This study highlights the need for a new and enhanced approach to MND bereavement care involving a caregiver risk and needs assessment as a basis for a tailored "goodness of fit" support plan. This approach requires continuity of care, more resources, formal plans, and enhanced training for professionals, as well as optimizing community capacity. MND Associations are well-positioned to support affected families before and after bereavement but may require additional training and resources to fulfill this role.
BACKGROUND: Individuals caring for patients with advanced cancer ("caregivers") experience psychological distress during the patient's illness course. However, data on the prevalence of bereaved caregivers' psychological distress and its relationship with the quality of patient's EOL care are limited.
METHODS: We conducted a secondary analysis of 168 caregivers enrolled in a supportive care trial for patients with incurable lung and gastrointestinal cancers and their caregivers. We used the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to assess caregivers' depression and anxiety symptoms at three months after the patient's death. Caregivers also rated the patient's physical and psychological distress in the last week of life on a 10-point scale three-months after the patient death. We used linear regression adjusting for caregiver age, sex, randomization, and cancer type to explore the relationship between bereaved caregivers' depression and anxiety symptoms and their ratings of physical and psychological distress in patients at the EOL.
RESULTS: Of the 168 bereaved caregivers, 30.4% (n=51) and 43.4% (n=73) reported clinically significant depression and anxiety symptoms, respectively. Caregiver ratings of worse physical (B=0.32, P=0.009) and psychological (B=0.50, P<0.001) distress experienced by the patient at the EOL were associated with worse depression symptoms in bereaved caregivers. Only caregiver rating of worse psychological distress experienced by the patient at the EOL (B=0.42, P<0.001) was associated with worse bereaved caregivers' anxiety symptoms.
CONCLUSION: Many bereaved caregivers of patients with advanced cancer experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, which are associated with their perceptions of distress in their loved ones at the EOL.
Background: A majority of hospice care is delivered at home, with significant caregiver involvement. Identifying factors associated with caregiver-reported quality measures could help improve hospice care in the United States.
Objectives: To identify correlates of caregiver-reported quality measures: burden, satisfaction, and quality of end-of-life (EoL) care in home hospice care.
Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted from April 2017 through February 2018.
Setting/Subjects: A nonprofit, urban hospice organization. We recruited caregivers whose patients were discharged from home hospice care. Eligible caregiver participants had to be 18 years or older, English-speaking, and listed as a primary caregiver at the time the patient was admitted to hospice.
Measures: The (1) short version of the Burden Scale for Family Caregivers; (2) Family Satisfaction with Care; and (3) Caregiver Evaluation of the Quality of End-Of-Life Care.
Results: Caregivers (n = 391) had a mean age of 59 years and most were female (n = 297, 76.0%), children of the patient (n = 233, 59.7%), and non-Hispanic White (n = 180, 46.0%). The mean age of home hospice patients was 83 years; a majority had a non-cancer diagnosis (n = 235, 60.1%), were female (n = 250, 63.9%), and were non-Hispanic White (n = 210, 53.7%). Higher symptom scores were significantly associated with greater caregiver burden and lower satisfaction with care; but not lower quality of EoL care. Caregivers who were less comfortable managing patient symptoms during the last week on hospice had higher caregiver burden, lower caregiver satisfaction, and lower ratings of quality of EoL care.
Conclusion: Potentially modifiable symptom-related variables were correlated with caregiver-reported quality measures. Our study reinforces the important relationship between the perceived suffering/symptoms of patients and caregivers' hospice experiences.
PURPOSE: To investigate the effectiveness of a structured death education program for older adults with chronic illness and their family caregivers.
METHODS: This study adopted two-group, non-randomized quasi-experimental design. Patient-caregiver dyads in the intervention group (N=40 dyads) engaged in the death education program at the bedside once a week for five weeks, were compared with participants (N=40 dyads) in the control group received usual health education. The program consisted of five sessions based on the Interaction Model of Client Health Behavior. Death attitude, death competence, well-being, family function and satisfaction were measured at baseline (T0), immediately after the intervention (T1) and one month later (T2). Data collection was conducted from July 30, 2019 to December 30, 2019.
RESULTS: The intention-to-treat analysis of between groups at 1-month follow-up revealed that the intervention group had greater decreases in the fear of death (p=.002, p<.001) and death avoidance (p<.001, p<.001), had greater increases in the neutral acceptance (p=.032, p<.001) and death competence (p<.001, p<.001) in patients and caregivers, respectively. There were significant intergroup differences over time for patient well-being of 6.40 (3.06, 9.74) and satisfaction of 3.30 (2.01, 4.59), with both p<.001. Results were consistent with the results from the sensitivity analysis.
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated the feasibility and benefits of death education in hospitals and provided an implementation plan for nursing professionals. Nurses should consider providing death education for older adults with chronic diseases and their families to promote the development of palliative care and the quality of end-of-life.
OBJECTIVES: Most research on starting palliative care focuses on the role of healthcare services and professional carers. However, patients and their family carers may also play a role. Especially opportunities for starting palliative care might exist among family carers. This study focused on family carers by identifying their behaviours and underlying determinants that might contribute to starting palliative care.
METHODS: A qualitative study with 16 family carers of deceased persons who used palliative care was conducted using semistructured, face-to-face interviews. Constant comparison analysis was used to identify groups of behaviours that influenced starting palliative care and related determinants. The behavioural determinants were matched with concepts in existing behavioural theories. A preliminary behavioural model was developed.
RESULTS: Most reported behaviours regarding starting palliative care were related to communicating with the seriously ill person, other family members and professional carers; seeking information and helping the seriously ill person process information from professional carers; and organising and coordinating care. Determinants facilitating and hindering these behaviours included awareness (eg, of poor health), knowledge (eg, concerning palliative care), attitudes (eg, negative connotations of palliative care) and social influences (eg, important others' opinions about palliative care).
CONCLUSIONS: This study identified relevant family carers' behaviours and related determinants that can contribute to starting palliative care. As these determinants are changeable, the palliative care behavioural model that resulted from this study can serve as a basis for the development of behavioural interventions aiming at supporting family carers in performing behaviours that might contribute to starting palliative care.
CONTEXT: Palliative care is known to improve patients' quality of life, but oftentimes these conversations occur outside of the healthcare setting.
OBJECTIVES: To characterize the #PalliativeCare Twitter network and evaluate the caregiver experience within palliative care.
METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, a total of 182,661 #PalliativeCare tweets by 26,837 users from June 1, 2015-June 1, 2019 were analyzed using Symplur Signals. Analysis included activity metrics, content analysis, user characteristics, engagement, and network analysis. Similar metrics were performed on tweets by self-identified caregivers (482), who wrote a total of 3,952 tweets. Qualitative analysis was completed on a systematic sample of caregiver tweets.
RESULTS: The number of #PalliativeCare tweets, users and impressions have increased by an annual average of 18.7%, 16.4%, and 32.5%, respectively. Support, access, and patients were among the Trending Terms. About 39.4% of Trending Articles were scientifically valid, and information about palliative care and comorbidities had the greatest number of articles. The majority of users wrote 5 or less #PalliativeCare tweets. Network analysis revealed central hubs to be palliative care advocacy organizations and physicians. The five main themes from qualitative analysis of caregiver tweets were (1) advocacy and events, (2) care strategies, (3) resources, (4) public health issues, and (5) myths related to palliative care.
CONCLUSION: The use of Twitter as a platform for palliative care conversations is growing rapidly. Twitter serves as a platform to facilitate #PalliativeCare conversation between patients, caregivers, physicians, and other healthcare providers.
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to explore health professional, patient, family, and caregiver perceptions of palliative care, availability of palliative care services to patients across South Dakota, and consistency and quality of palliative care delivery.
METHODS: Six focus groups were conducted over two months. Participants included interprofessional healthcare team members, patients, family members of patients, and caregivers. Individuals with palliative care experiences or interest in palliative care were invited to participate. Recruitment strategies included emails, flyers, and direct contact by members of the Network. Snowball sampling was used to recruit participants.
RESULTS: Forty-six participants included patients, family members, caregivers and interprofessional health care team members. Most participants were Caucasian (93.3%) and female (80%). Six primary themes emerged: Need for guidance toward the development of a holistic statewide palliative care model; Poor conceptual understanding and awareness; Insufficient resources to implement complete care in all South Dakota communities; Disparities in the availability and provision of care services in rural SD communities; Need for relationship and connection with palliative care team; and Secondary effects of palliative care on patients/family/caregivers and interprofessional healthcare team members. Significance of Results: Disproportionate access is a principle problem identified for palliative care in rural South Dakota. Palliative care is poorly understood by providers and recipients of care. Service reach is also tempered by lack of resources and payer reimbursement constraints. A model for palliative care in these rural communities requires concerted attention to their unique needs and design of services suited for the rural residents.
This pilot study examined the effects of Brief Problem-Solving Therapy on caregiver quality of life, depression, and problem-solving in family caregivers of hospice patients. Thirty-seven family caregivers to home-based hospice patients (mean age 62.8 [SD = 12.32]) were randomized to the study group (PST-Hospice), for a 45 minute per week/5 week intervention or comparison group of usual care plus caregiver education (UC + CE). The severity of depressive symptoms, caregiver quality of life and problem-solving functioning were assessed at baseline and follow-up. At post-test, the PST-Hospice condition had significantly higher scores on caregiver quality of life compared to UC + CE. On the Social Problem Solving Inventory-Revised Short Form (SPSI-R) measure, PST-Hospice scores clinically improved as compared to UC + CE on Positive Problem Orientation and Rational Problem-Solving subscales. In addition, this pilot study found that brief problem-solving treatment delivered by a hospice social worker appears to be an acceptable and feasible tool for routine use in the home-hospice setting.
Purpose: Social support is an important factor in reducing caregiver burden, however, accessing social support via traditional means is often challenging for family caregivers of hospice patients. Online support groups may offer an effective solution. The present study sought to understand dynamics of online social support among family and other informal (e.g., friends) caregivers of hospice cancer patients in an online social support group. The primary aim of the study was to identify types of online social support and support-seeking behaviors, with a secondary aim to understand informal hospice caregivers’ preferences for social support.
Method: Data used in this study were collected as part of a federally funded randomized clinical trial of an informal hospice cancer caregiver support intervention. Findings are based on directed and conventional content analysis of support group members' posts and comments—including text and images—and a sample of caregivers’ exit interviews.
Results: Analyses demonstrated that the majority of online support provided by group members was emotional support, followed by companionship support, appraisal support, and informational support. Instrumental support was rarely provided. Support was primarily elicited in an indirect manner through self-disclosure and patient updates, with few overt requests for support.
Conclusions: Findings suggest online social support groups can be a valuable resource for informal caregivers who are in need of emotional support and lack the ability to access face-to-face support groups. Clinical implications of this research to healthcare systems regarding the importance of incorporating nurses and other medical professionals as co-facilitators of online support groups are discussed.
CONTEXT: Evaluation of end-of-life care is a key element in quality improvement, and population-based mortality follow-back designs have been used in several countries. This design was adapted to evaluate a Good Death in Japan.
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to explain the scientific background and rationale for assessing the feasibility of a mortality follow-back survey using a randomized design.
DESIGN: We utilized a cross-sectional, questionnaire survey to assess feasibility using response rate, sample representativeness, effect on response rate with two methods, and survey acceptability.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: The subjects were 4,812 bereaved family members of patients who died from the major five causes of death: cancer, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, pneumonia, or kidney failure, using mortality data.
RESULTS: Overall, 682 (14.2%) questionnaires could not be delivered, and 2,294 (55.5%) family members agreed to participate in the survey. There was little difference in the distribution of characteristics between the study subjects and the full population, and sample representativeness was acceptable. Sending the questionnaire with a pen achieved a higher response rate than without (weighted: 48.2% vs. 40.8%; p<0.001). In follow-up contact, there was no difference in response rate between resending the questionnaire and a reminder letter alone (weighted: 32.9% vs. 32.4%; p=0.803). In total, 84.8% (weighted) of the participants agreed with improving quality of care through this kind of survey.
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated the feasibility of conducting a population-based mortality follow-back survey using a randomized design. An attached pen with the questionnaire was effective in improving the response rate.
This study was conducted to examine the importance of the concept of a good death and the contributing factors from the perspectives of family caregivers of advanced cancer patients. This descriptive and cross-sectional study, conducted with 182 family caregivers, were collected using a questionnaire form and the “Good Death Scale”. The number and percentage distribution, multiple linear regression were used evaluation of data. The total score of the Good Death Scale was 62.65 ± 4.60. The factors contributing to the importance of the concept of a good death were determined as the presence of chronic disease; the type of treatment given to the patient; the presence of another family member who was previously diagnosed with cancer; the presence of a family member who has died of cancer and previously caregiving to a terminally ill family member. This study revealed that the concept of a good death is seen as very important.