Background: The 3 Wishes Project is a semistructured program that improves the quality of care for patients dying in the intensive care unit by eliciting and implementing wishes. This simple intervention honors the legacy of patients and eases family grief, forging human connections between family members and clinicians.
Aim: To examine how the 3 Wishes Project enables collective patterns of compassion between patients, families, clinicians, and managerial leaders in the intensive care unit.
Design: Using a qualitative descriptive approach, interviews and focus groups were used to collect data from family members of dying patients, clinicians, and institutional leaders. Unconstrained directed qualitative content analysis was performed using Organizational Compassion as the analytic framework.
Setting/participants: Four North American intensive care units, participants were 74 family members of dying patients, 72 frontline clinicians, and 20 managerial leaders.
Results: The policies and processes of the 3 Wishes Project exemplify organizational compassion by supporting individuals in the intensive care unit to collectively notice, feel, and respond to suffering. As an intervention that enables and empowers clinicians to engage in acts of kindness to enhance end-of-life care, the 3 Wishes Project is particularly well situated to encourage collective responses to suffering and promote compassion between patients, family members, and clinicians.
Conclusions: Examining the 3 Wishes Project through the lens of organizational compassion reveals the potential of this program to cultivate the capacity for people to collectively notice, feel, and respond to suffering. Our data document multidirectional demonstrations of compassion between clinicians and family members, forging the type of human connections that may foster resilience.
Context: Keepsakes are a relatively unexplored form of bereavement support that is frequently provided as part of the 3 Wishes Project (3WP). The 3WP is a palliative care intervention in which individualized wishes are implemented in the adult intensive care unit for dying patients and their families.
Objectives: We aimed to characterize and enumerate the keepsakes that were created as part of the 3WP, and to understand their value from the perspective of bereaved family members.
Methods: We performed a secondary analysis of family interviews during a multi-center study on the 3WP and characterized all wishes that involved keepsakes. Sixty interviews with family members regarding the 3WP were re-analyzed using qualitative analysis to identify substantive themes related to keepsakes.
Results: Of 730 patients, 345 (47%) received keepsakes as part of their participation in 3WP. The majority of keepsakes were either tangible items that served as reminders of the patient’s presence (thumbprints, locks of hair) or technology-assisted items (photographs, word clouds). The median cost per keepsake wish was $8.50 (IQR $2.00-$25.00). Qualitative analysis revealed two major themes: 1) Keepsakes are tangible items that are highly valued by family members, and 2) The creation of the keepsake with clinical staff is valued and viewed as a gesture of compassion.
Conclusion: Keepsakes are common wishes that clinicians in the ICU are able to provide and sometimes co-create with families when patients are dying. Both the offering to create the keepsake and receipt of the final product are perceived by family members as helpful.
Background: The 3 Wishes Project (3WP) is an end-of-life program that aims to honor the dignity of dying patients by creating meaningful patient- and family-centered memories while promoting humanistic interprofessional care.
Objective: To determine whether this palliative intervention could be successfully implemented-defined as demonstrating value, transferability, affordability, and sustainability-beyond the intensive care unit in which it was created.
Design: Mixed-methods formative program evaluation. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT04147169).
Setting: 4 North American intensive care units.
Participants: Dying patients, their families, clinicians, hospital managers, and administrators.
Intervention: Wishes from dying patients, family members, and clinicians were elicited and implemented.
Measurements: Patient characteristics and processes of care; the number, type, and cost of each wish; and semistructured interviews and focus groups with family members, clinicians, and managers.
Results: A total of 730 patients were enrolled, and 3407 wishes were elicited. Qualitative data were gathered from 75 family members, 72 clinicians, and 20 managers or hospital administrators. Value included intentional comforting of families as they honored the lives and legacies of their loved ones while inspiring compassionate clinical care. Factors promoting transferability included family appreciation and a collaborative intensive care unit culture committed to dignity-conserving end-of-life care. Staff participation evolved from passive support to professional agency. Program initiation required minimal investment for reusable materials; thereafter, the mean cost was $5.19 (SD, $17.14) per wish. Sustainability was demonstrated by the continuation of 3WP at each site after study completion.
Limitation: This descriptive formative evaluation describes tertiary care center-specific experiences rather than aiming for generalizability to all jurisdictions.
Conclusion: The 3WP is a transferrable, affordable, and sustainable program that provides value to dying patients, their families, clinicians, and institutions.
Primary Funding Source: Greenwall Foundation.
Background: End-of-life (EOL) care is an important aspect of practice in the intensive care unit (ICU), where approximately one of every five patients may die.
Objective: The objective of this study was to describe clinicians' experiences with the 3 Wishes Project (3WP) and understand the influence of the project on care in the ICU.
Design: The 3WP is a palliative care intervention in which clinicians elicit and implement final wishes for patients dying in the ICU; it had been implemented for seven months at the time of this study. This mixed-methods study includes quantitative data from clinician surveys and qualitative data from clinician focus groups.
Setting: A 24-bed medical ICU in a tertiary academic center.
Subjects: Perspectives of 97 clinicians working in the ICU during the study period were obtained by self-administered surveys. Five focus groups with 25 nurses and 5 physicians were held, digitally recorded, transcribed, and analyzed.
Measurements and Results: During the 7-month period, 67 decedents and their families participated in the 3WP. The overarching concept identified through analysis of the survey and focus group data is that the 3WP improves EOL care in the ICU, which was supported by three main themes: (1) The 3WP facilitates meaningful EOL care; (2) The 3WP has a positive impact on nurses and physicians; and (3) clinicians observe a positive influence of the 3WP on families.
Conclusions: This patient-centered and family-partnered intervention facilitates meaningful EOL care, favorably impacting the ICU team and positively influencing family members.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Patients with gynecologic malignancies face many difficult issues in the course of their diseases, ranging from physical symptoms to advance care planning in light of a poor prognosis. This review examines the evidence supporting integration of palliative care early in the course of disease and symptom management, and provides a framework for difficult conversations.
RECENT FINDINGS: Palliative care has been demonstrated to improve quality of life and promote survival if integrated early in the course of disease. An evidence-based approach should guide symptom management, such as pain and nausea. Advance care planning and goals of care discussions are enhanced by a framework guiding discussion and the incorporation of empathetic responses.
SUMMARY: Palliative care is a diverse multidisciplinary field that can provide significant benefit for patients with gynecologic malignancies.