BACKGROUND: The interprofessional approach is part of the philosophy in palliative care, and its benefits are already documented. However, there are no evidence regarding the process through which the interprofessional team faces the process of the patient's end-of-life and how this experience might be of value for the team's development itself. The aim of this study was to analyse and understand the psychosocial processes that occurs when an interprofessional team accompanies patients and their families to death in palliative care, with the ultimate aim to develop a substantive theory to describe this phenomenon.
METHODS: A Grounded Theory method, as theorized by Strauss and Corbin, was adopted for this study. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and then independently analysed using constant comparison analysis. Fourteen healthcare professionals - belonging to different disciplines (doctor, nurse coordinator, nurse, nurse assistant, psychologist) - were interviewed in a Northern Italy palliative care facility.
FINDINGS: The core category of this study was identified to be the process of accompaniment of the dying patient as an interprofessional ecosystem. Moreover, the results showed four main factors determining the development of the core psychosocial process: from professionals' 'Hidden Amazement' to 'Onerous Happiness' where 'Weaving of Professional Resources' and 'Work Meaning' are the underlying conditions to catalyse the process itself.
CONCLUSION: Interprofessional care appears an essential value, which becomes the source of the team's strength when facing end-of-life experiences. Health policies and organisations should take the importance of the characteristics of the work environment more carefully. The meaning that professionals attribute to their work and to the team itself, indeed, it may have impact on the overall quality of care and contribute to sustain work engagement, even in stressful situations like end-of-life care.
BACKGROUND: Training in medical ethics aims to educate health care professionals in dealing with daily care ethical issues. To guarantee quality of life and spiritual and emotional support, palliative care professionals have to develop ethical and relational skills. We propose the implementation and evaluation of a specialized training programme in medical ethics dedicated to a hospital-based Palliative Care Unit.
METHODS: This study is a mixed-method before-after evaluation with data triangulation.
RESULTS: The results highlight that participants developed their ethical knowledge, and a deeper ethical awareness. They also felt more confident and motivated to widely apply ethical reflections and reasonings in their daily practice.
CONCLUSION: The participants appreciated the innovative structure of the training, especially regarding the integration of the theoretical-interactive and practical parts. However, they recommended increasing the number of concrete occasions for ethical supervision and practical application of what they learned during the programme. The training programme also has some potential practical implications: the development of advanced ethical skills within a hospital-based PC team may improve the quality of life of the patients and their families. In addition, health care professionals with advanced ethical competencies are able to educate patients and their families towards more active participation in the decision-making process.
Little is known about health professionals first experiences of End-of-Life care in hospital. This study aims to understand the psycho-social process that occurs when hospital-based health professionals engage in caring for a dying patient for the first time. We conducted a Grounded Theory study, with 19 health professionals. Challenging professional boundaries is the core category which explains the overall process. The theoretical model we conceptualized evidenced three phases: 1) building a relationship between patient/family and professionals, 2) the disrupting impact and 3) the reaction phase. Our analysis highlighted the initial strong impact of this experience, which brought professionals to perceive emotional suffering and feelings of inadequacy. The new aspect our grounded theory revealed is that all the categories are pertinent to all the professionals involved, therefore they explain important aspects of interprofessional collaboration in End-of-Life care.
BACKGROUND: Quality of care for patients dying in hospital remains suboptimal. A major problem is the identification of valid sources of information about the views and experiences of dying patients and their relatives.
AIM: This study aimed to estimate the agreement on quality of end-of-life care from the perspectives of bereaved relatives, physicians and nurses interviewed after the patients' death.
DESIGN: In this prospective study, we interviewed, after the patient death, the bereaved relatives, the attending physicians and the reference nurses, using the Toolkit After-death Family Interview and the View Of Informal Carers-Evaluation of Services (VOICES). Agreement was assessed using Lin's concordance correlation coefficient, Cohen's kappa, overall concordance correlation coefficient and Fleiss' kappa.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: We enrolled a consecutive series of 40 adult patients who died of cancer between January and December 2016 who had spent at least 48 hours in the medical oncology ward of the Santa Maria Hospital of Reggio Emilia, Italy.
RESULTS: We interviewed all physicians and nurses, and 26 (65.0%) out of 40 relatives. We found a poor agreement on overall quality of care among the three proxies (+0.21; -0.04 to 0.44), between relatives and nurses (+0.05; -0.39 to +0.47), and between relatives and physicians (+0.25; -0.13 to +0.57). A similar poor agreement was observed for all the other Toolkit and VOICES scales.
CONCLUSIONS: The agreement was rather poor, confirming previous results in different settings. Information from professional proxies should not be used for assessing the quality of care or for estimating missing information from bereaved relatives.
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Healthcare professionals working in palliative care are exposed to emotionally intense conditions. Scientific literature suggests Expressive Writing as a valid tool for the adjustment to traumatic events. For health workers, EW represents an important support to prevent Compassion Fatigue and Burnout. As literature showed that Compassion Satisfaction, Group Cohesion and the Organizational Commitment are protective factors able to counter the onset of Compassion Fatigue and Burnout, the aim of this study is evaluating the effect of Expressive Writing protocol in Palliative Care workers on Compassion Satisfaction, Group Cohesion and Organizational Commitment.
METHODS: A quasi-experimental quantitative 2x2 prospective study was conducted with two groups and two measurements. 66 professionals were included. Outcome variables were measured using: Organizational Commitment Questionnaire, Compassion Satisfaction Rating Scale, ICONAS Questionnaire, Questionnaire for the evaluation of EW sessions.
RESULTS: The parametric analysis through Student t test did not show statistical significance within the experimental group and between the experimental and control groups. One significant difference in the pre-intervention assessment of Normative Commitment t (gl 64) = -2.008 for p< 0.05, higher in the control group, disappeared in the post intervention evaluation. An improvement trend in all variables within and between groups was present, with a positive assessment of utility from the participants.
CONCLUSIONS: This intervention did not significantly impact outcome variables. It is however conceivable that by modifying the intervention methodology, it could prove effective. The positive evaluation by the operators, suggests to keep trying modelling a protocol tailored on Palliative Care professionals.
BACKGROUND: The 38/2010 law has widened the supply of palliative care for patients with chronic and degenerative illness. Dementia is a chronic and debilitating illness and it requires specific, complex and constant assistance, involving the health professionals' community and family, and should also benefit from palliative care. But what do the caregivers of these patients think about it?
AIM: To explore the point of view of caregivers accompanying dementia patients regarding palliative care and the accompaniment of the medical team.
METHOD: A qualitative method with phenomenological approach: 29 semi-structured interviews have been submitted to caregivers of patients suffering from dementia. The interviews were submitted to analysis of thematic content.
RESULT: In the majority of cases the caregiver is a member of the family and holds this position because of the affective relationship he/she shares with the patient. They too live the illness of the relative as if it were theirs. The caregiver doesn't know about palliative care or has only heard of it, but is resistant to the application of this care, especially when its correct meaning and use are explained. At the same time, the health professionals'' role is important when it comes to taking decisions: caregivers rely completely on the team's competence and on their judgement.
CONCLUSION: A correct sharing of knowledge is fundamental. The healthcare professionals must be trained in palliative care in order to correctly inform caregivers and to avoid false beliefs about or resistance to the application of these useful pathways.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: From a previous study (1) was highlighted that Expressive writing is an important strategy for preventing and managing the effects of compassion fatigue (2). It helps educate caregivers in recognising these feelings and providing them with a "space" and a time for their reflection. This, in turn, results in significant positive repercussions on the quality of service, reducing burnout risk, implementing coping strategies, and increasing perceived work satisfaction. Reflecting occasionally in writing about ambiguous and emotionally charged situations helps in many ways: it facilitates clarification and problem-solving, and makes one more spontaneous and present in social situations, more in tune with others and available to interact. People begin to interact differently with others and see themselves in a new light after writing about an emotional subject. The objective of thi study is ascertain and confirm the results of the previous study using a reduced methodological approach. Infact, the difference from the previous research is the use of only two expressive writing sessions.
METHODS: A comparison was made between the expressive writing and neutral writing of two randomized groups of health care professionals of palliative care. They were evaluated pre- and post-intervention using several scales and an ad hoc questionnaire.
RESULTS: After analyzing the texts, this study confirm previous results, using only two sessions.
OBJECTIVE: Qualitative research is pivotal in gaining understanding of individuals' experiences in pediatric palliative care. In the past few decades, the number of qualitative studies on pediatric palliative care has increased slightly, as has interest in qualitative research in this area. Nonetheless, a limited number of such studies have included the first-person perspective of children. The aim of this article is to understand the contribution of previous qualitative research on pediatric palliative care that included the voices of children.
METHOD: A systematic review of qualitative studies and a meta-summary were conducted. MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, and ERIC were searched without limitations on publication date or language. Eligible articles were qualitative research articles in which the participants were children ranging in age from 3 to 18 years. Result: We retrieved 16 qualitative research articles reporting on 12 unique studies, and we selected two mixed-method articles. The meta-summary shows eight themes: the relationship with professional caregivers, pain and its management, "living beyond pain," the relationship between pediatric patients and their families, children's view on their treatment and service provision, meanings children give to their end-of-life situation, consequences of clinical decisions, and the relationships among children in pediatric palliative care and their peers. Significance of results: This meta-summary presents the "state of the art" of pediatric palliative care qualitative research on children and highlights additional research areas that warrant qualitative study.
BACKGROUND AND AIM: The 38/2010 law has expanded the provision of palliative care to patients with chronic-degenerative diseases. The ISTAT data show that 60% of the dying population is suffering from these diseases and could, according to the literature review, benefit particularly from such treatments. This study investigates the point of view of healthcare professionals, working in the context of dementia, regarding the knowledge and application of palliative care in the field of dementia. The focus is on the analysis of the resistance that may prevent the spread of palliative care, slowing the application of such care in different settings of terminality.
METHODS: The method is a qualitative phenomenological approach. A grid of semi-structured interviews was created and was proposed to 33 health workers (18 women) who work in Health Centres or in the Alzheimer Nucleus of Northern Italy.
RESULTS: Most operators think they understand palliative care, they believe it to be useful and necessary, but often only connect it with terminal illness. Others have a broader vision based on a more abstract and theoretical level than on real practical knowledge. A majority of respondents think that the spread of palliative care is slow and difficult because of the prevalence of the biomedical model that holistically and prejudicially hinders the introduction of new models.
CONCLUSION: Appropriate training is the fundamental key to overcoming resistance. The professionals interviewed showed that they were aware of their lack of knowledge and declared that they had little competence in managing the complexity of long-term pathologies.