Aim: The authors aimed to evaluate the experiences of the relatives of dying people, both in regard to benefits and special needs, when supported by a mobile palliative care bridging service (MPCBS), which exists to enable dying people to stay at home and to support patients' relatives.
Design: A cross-sectional survey.
Methods: A standardised survey was performed, asking 106 relatives of dying people about their experiences with the MPCBS (response rate=47.3%). Descriptive statistics were analysed using SPSS 23.
Findings: Many relatives (62.5%) reported that their dying relations when discharged from a facility to stay at home were not symptom-free. The MPCBS helped relatives maintain home care, and this was reported to be helpful. Support provided by the MPCBS made it easier for 77.6% of relatives to adjust care as soon as situations changed, and helped ensure that symptoms could be better controlled, at least for 68.2% of relatives. Younger relatives felt more encouraged by the MPCBS to care for their relatives dying at home.
Introduction: Health professionals in oncologic and palliative care settings are often faced with the problem that patients stop eating and drinking. While the causes of food refusal are very different, the result is often malnutrition, which is linked to health comorbidities and a high mortality rate. However, the professionals lack the time and knowledge to clarify the cause for each patient. What associations do health professionals have when faced with food refusal?
Objective: To investigate the associations that health professionals in oncological and palliative settings have about denied eating behavior
Methods: A cross-sectional study, starting with an open question focusing professionals’ associations regarding food refusal. The results were inductively analyzed, whereby generic categories were developed. Subsequently, the categories were transformed into quantitative data to calculate the relationships between the categories.
Results: A total of 350 out of 2000 participants completed the survey, resulting in a response rate of 17.5%. Food refusal is primarily associated with physical and ethical aspects and with end-of-life. Half of the participants frequently find that patients refuse to eat. The attitudes show that the autonomy of the patient is the highest good and is to be respected. Even in the case of patients with limited decision-making capacity, the refusal to eat is acceptable.
Conclusion: Clarifying the cause of food refusal requires a great deal of knowledge and is strongly influenced by the associations of health professionals. While the associations have very negative connotations, information and training is needed to make professionals aware of this and to change their associations. With this knowledge and in an interprofessional cooperation, mis-labelling of patient settings can be avoided and fears can be reduced.
AIMS: To assess the incidence of voluntary stopping of eating and drinking in long-term care and to gain insights into the attitudes of long-term care nurses about the voluntary stopping of eating and drinking.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional study.
METHODS: Heads of Swiss nursing homes (535; 34%) answered the Online-Survey between June and October 2017, which was evaluated using descriptive data analysis.
RESULTS: The incidence of patients who died in Swiss nursing homes by voluntarily stopping eating and drinking is 1.7% and 67.5% of participants consider this phenomenon highly relevant in their daily work. Most participants (64.2%) rate voluntary stopping of eating and drinking as a natural death accompanied by health professionals and patients are also granted the right to care (91.9%). This phenomenon is expected by the participants less at a young age and more in old age.
CONCLUSION: Participants' overall views on the voluntary stopping of eating and drinking are very positive, whereas it is assumed that voluntary stopping of eating and drinking is a phenomenon of old age. Professionals still lack sufficient knowledge about this phenomenon, which could be clarified through training. International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/10358.
IMPACT: Voluntary stopping of eating and drinking is much discussed interprofessional, but there is a lack of knowledge on how this is perceived in the context of long-term care and about the incidence of the phenomenon. Voluntary stopping of eating and drinking is rare but noticeable end-of-life practises that is considered by professionals to be mainly dignified and peaceful, although moral concerns make it difficult to accompany. These findings call on long-term care institutions to discuss voluntary stopping of eating and drinking as an end-of-life practice. Positioning on the issue provides clarity for staff and patients and promotes to develop standardized care.
BACKGROUND: "To die with dignity" has reached the significance of a core value in democratic societies. Based on this unconditional value, people require autonomy and care. "Voluntary stopping of eating and drinking" (VSED) represents an alternative to assisted suicide because no one else is involved in the action of death fastening, even though from outside, it might be considered as an extreme form of passive euthanasia. However, there are no data available about the prevalence and frequency of either explicit VSED or the implicit reduction of food and liquid in Switzerland. The responsible and independent ethics committee of the Greater Region of Eastern Switzerland (EKOS 17/083) approved this study.
OBJECTIVE: The objectives of the study were to research the prevalence and frequency of different types (implicit and explicit) of VSED in Switzerland; to explore the experiences, attitudes, handling and recommendations made by palliative care experts; to develop a practical recommendation about VSED, which will be validated by experts in Delphi rounds.
METHODS: This protocol describes a convergent mixed-method design to answer the research questions. In the first step, a cross-sectional trilingual survey (in German, French, and Italian) will be carried out to obtain a comprehensive representative picture of VSED in Switzerland. In the second step, qualitative research will be carried out by focus group interviews with palliative care experts. The interviews will be recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using generic coding, and embedded in an explorative descriptive qualitative approach. Based on the results of the first two steps, a practical recommendation will be developed. Experts will validate the practical recommendation in Delphi rounds.
RESULTS: The enrolment was completed in summer of 2018. Data analysis is currently underway and the first results are expected to be submitted for publication in the end of 2019.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study will provide important information about the prevalence and frequency of VSED as well as the interpretation of palliative care experts about handling VSED in daily work. Furthermore, the practice recommendation will help professionals and institutions to improve the quality of care in patients and their relatives who made the decision to fasten death by VSED.
INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/10358.