IMPORTANCE: In the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania, there are no advance care planning (ACP) protocols being used to document patient preferences for end-of-life (EoL) care. There is a general avoidance of the topic and contemplating ACP in healthcare-limited regions can be an ethically complex subject. Nonetheless, evidence from similar settings indicate that an appropriate quality of life is valued, even as one is dying. What differs amongst cultures is the definition of a 'good death'.
OBJECTIVE: Evaluate perceptions of quality of death and advance EoL preparation in Moshi, Tanzania.
DESIGN: 13 focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted in Swahili using a semi-structured guide. These discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed, translated, and coded using an inductive approach.
SETTING: Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), referral hospital for northern Tanzania.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 122 participants, including patients with life-threatening illnesses (34), their relatives/friends (29), healthcare professionals (29; HCPs; doctors and nurses), and allied HCPs (30; community health workers, religious leaders, and social workers) from KCMC, or nearby within Moshi, participated in this study.
FINDINGS: In characterizing Good Death, 7 first-order themes emerged, and, of these themes, Religious & Spiritual Wellness, Family & Interpersonal Wellness, Grief Coping & Emotional Wellness, and Optimal Timing comprised the second-order theme, EoL Preparation and Life Completion. The other first-order themes for Good Death were Minimal Suffering & Burden, Quality of Care by Formal Caregivers, and Quality of Care by Informal Caregivers.
INTERPRETATION: The results of this study provide a robust thematic description of Good Death in northern Tanzania and they lay the groundwork for future clinical and research endeavors to improve the quality of EoL care at KCMC.
Objective: Patients with cancer face numerous problems at the end of their lives, which makes palliative care necessary for a peaceful death. Considering the important role nurses play in the provision of end-of-life care, the present study was conducted to study the effect of a traditional training method on nurses' perception of and clinical competency in providing end-of-life care to patients with cancer in a hospital in Southeastern Iran.
Methods: This was a pilot clinical trial in which the nurses in an oncology ward were allocated to two groups, experimental (n = 24) and control (n = 33), using a table of random numbers. The experiment group received three sessions of workshop training. The nurses' perception and clinical competency were measured before and 3 months postintervention.
Results: The results showed the perception scores in the experimental and control groups to be 171.75 ± 19.54 and 170.03 ± 17.03 before education and 176.16 ± 19.54 and 176.12 ± 16.12 postintervention, respectively. The scores of clinical competency were 98.71 ± 10.24 and 99.58 ± 12.17 before education and 101.5 ± 14.67 and 104.97 ± 12 postintervention in the experimental and control groups, respectively. According to the findings, neither of the groups showed a significant difference between pre- and post-intervention in terms of perception of or clinical competency in end-of-life care.
Conclusions: A traditional training method such as workshop training cannot cause long-term improvement in nurses' end-of-life care perception or clinical competency. It seems that nurses would benefit from acquiring cognitive and behavioral skills and knowledge through a more continuous form of instruction delivered through modern blended educational methods.
BACKGROUND: Studies have shown gaps in prognostic understanding among patients with cancer. However, few studies have explored patients' perceptions of their treatment goals versus how they perceive their oncologist's goals, and the association of these views with their psychological distress.
METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 559 patients with incurable lung, gastrointestinal, breast, and brain cancers. The Prognosis and Treatment Perception Questionnaire was used to assess patients' reports of their treatment goal and their oncologist's treatment goal, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale was used to assess patients' psychological symptoms.
RESULTS: We found that 61.7% of patients reported that both their treatment goal and their oncologist's treatment goal were noncurative, whereas 19.3% reported that both their goal and their oncologist's goal were to cure their cancer, 13.9% reported that their goal was to cure their cancer whereas their oncologist's goal was noncurative, and 5% reported that their goal was noncurative whereas their oncologist's goal was curative. Patients who reported both their goal and their oncologist's goal as noncurative had higher levels of depression (B=0.99; P=.021) and anxiety symptoms (B=1.01; P=.015) compared with those who reported that both their goal and their oncologist's goal was curative. Patients with discordant perceptions of their goal and their oncologist's goal reported higher anxiety symptoms (B=1.47; P=.004) compared with those who reported that both their goal and their oncologist's goal were curative.
CONCLUSIONS: One-fifth of patients with incurable cancer reported that both their treatment goal and their oncologist's goal were to cure their cancer. Patients who acknowledged the noncurative intent of their treatment and those who perceived that their treatment goal was discordant from that of their oncologist reported greater psychological distress.
The objective of this study was to understand the organizational context of nurses' use of advance care plans (ACPs). We use a modified version of Bandera's social cognitive theory model to understand relationships between organizational constructs such as experience with ACPs and satisfaction with organizational support and oncology nurses' knowledge, behaviors, and perceptions around ACPs. The sample included practicing registered nurses with a major focus in oncology who were members of the Oncology Nursing Society in the United States, and nurses at medical hospital or community care settings were included. Institutional review board approval was obtained, and permission was granted from the oncology nursing organization for online surveys. A validated ACP survey was used to measure nurses' experiences and perceptions of working with ACP. Perceptions of ACP by patients, vicarious experience with ACP, direct experience of ACP, having received training, and perceptions of organizational support for ACP were all predictive of total ACP behaviors in the workplace. The final regression model had 3 independent variables and accounted for 33% of the variance in total ACP behaviors. Both vicarious and direct experience with ACP was associated with ACP behaviors in workplaces. This implies the need for more vicarious and direct training experiences, as well as organization support, to build self-efficacy to perform ACP.
Background: Although access to advance care planning (ACP), palliative care, and hospice has increased, public attitudes may still be barriers to their optimal use.
Purpose: To synthesize empirical research from disparate sources that describes public perceptions of ACP, palliative care, and hospice in ways that could inform public messaging.
Data Sources: Searches of PubMed and other databases were made from January 2011 to January 2020.
Study Selection: Studies reporting survey or interview data with the public that asked specifically about awareness and attitudes toward ACP, palliative care, or hospice were included.
Data Extraction and Synthesis: Two reviewers independently screened citations, read full texts, and performed data abstraction. Twelve studies met inclusion criteria and included >9800 participants. For ACP, 80% to 90% of participants reported awareness, and a similar proportion considered it important, but only 10% to 41% reported having named a proxy or completed a written document. For palliative care, 66% to 71% of participants reported no awareness of palliative care, and those who reported awareness often conflated it with end-of-life care. However, after being prompted with a tested definition, 95% rated palliative care favorably. For hospice, 86% of participants reported awareness and 70% to 91% rated it favorably, although 37% held significant misconceptions.
Limitations: A limited number of studies met inclusion criteria, and some were published in nonpeer reviewed sources. The studies reflect public perceptions pre-COVID-19.
Conclusion: Consumer perceptions of ACP, palliative care, and hospice each have a distinct profile of awareness, perceptions of importance, and reports of action taking, and these profiles represent three different challenges for public messaging.
This study aimed to examine family members’ attitudes and perceptions regarding their choice of care in the event of terminal illness, based on their experience in a caregiver’s role, while a loved one was terminally ill. All participants (N = 10) had cared for an immediate family member with terminal cancer. Snowball sampling was used. Qualitative data were collected through in-depth, semi-structured interviews. The data were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using thematic analysis. Five themes were identified from the data. These included two themes relating to participants’ experience of care, two themes in relation to participants’ attitudes toward the type of care they experienced and a final theme related to the role of religion and spirituality in dealing with loss. The findings of this study support the integration of multidisciplinary healthcare teams and the introduction of holistic care as early as possible within hospitals for individuals with terminal cancer, using the biopsychosocial–spiritual model.
Background: Substitute decision-makers (SDMs) make decisions on behalf of patients who do not have capacity, in line with previously expressed wishes, values and beliefs. However, miscommunications and poor awareness of previous wishes often lead to inappropriate care. Increasing public preparedness to communicate on behalf of loved ones may improve care in patients requiring an SDM.
Methods: We conducted an online survey in January 2019 with a representative sample of the Canadian population. The primary outcome was self-reported preparedness to be an SDM. The secondary outcome was support for a high school curriculum on the role of SDMs. The effect of socio-demographics, known enablers and barriers to acting as an SDM, and attitudes towards a high school curriculum were assessed using multivariate analysis.
Results: Of 1,000 participants, 53.1% felt prepared to be an SDM, and 75.4% stated they understood their loved one’s values. However, only 55.6% reported having had a meaningful conversation with their loved one about values and wishes, and only 61.7% reported understanding the SDM role. Engagement in advance care planning for oneself was low (23.1%). Age, experience, training and comfort with communication were associated with preparedness in our multivariate analysis. A high school curriculum was supported by 61.1% of respondents, with 28.3% neutral and 10.6% against it.
Interpretation: There is a gap between perceived and actual preparedness to be an SDM. Many report understanding their loved one’s values yet have not asked them about wishes in illness or end of life. The majority of respondents support high school education to improve preparedness.
Aim: Nurses have a critical role in providing holistic care for people with life-limiting conditions. However, they experience internal moral conflict and powerlessness when patients request them to assist in the dying process. A scoping review was undertaken to determine what is known about nurses’ perceptions and attitudes of euthanasia.
Review Methods: Several databases were searched that yielded both qualitative and quantitative primary peer-reviewed research studies that focused on nurses, their perceptions and attitudes about euthanasia. Descriptive and explorative analyses of the data set from the research studies were undertaken.
Results: A total of 23 studies were included in the review. Opinions about euthanasia were mixed. Two key concepts emerged from the review: some nurses were positive and/or supportive of euthanasia, while some were negative and/or unsupportive of euthanasia. The main factors associated with being positive and/or supportive were because of (a) extreme uncontrollable pain, unbearable suffering, or other distressing experiences of the patient, (b) legality of euthanasia, and (c) right of the patient to die. The factors that determined nurses’ negative and/or unsupportive attitude included (a) religion, (b) moral/ethical dilemmas, (c) role of gender of the health professional, and, (d) poor palliative care.
Conclusions: The matter of euthanasia has challenged nurses considerably in their aim to deliver holistic care. There were several crucial factors influencing nurses’ perceptions and attitudes, and these were affected by their personal, professional and transpersonal perspectives. The potential implications to nurses relate to education, practice, and research. Nurses need to be informed of existing legislation and provided in-depth education and professional guidelines to help direct action. Further research is needed to explore the impact on nurses’ emotional well-being, clarify their role/s and determine the support they might require when involved with euthanasia.
Au coeur de l'accompagnement en soins palliatifs la question du temps et de la temporalité de chacun prend toute son importance. Il y a de nombreuses manières d'exprimer le passage du temps d'une personne et d'un moment à l'autre. "Au jour le jour", disent souvent les patients. "A toute à l'heure", promettent les soignants. Quant aux familles, elles éprouvent souvent le temps qui reste à vivre dans l'angoisse et l'ambivalence. Pour le psychologue il s'agit de concilier toutes les perceptions et d'en révéler la cohérence.
Background: The importance of advance care planning (ACP) has been recognized in the palliative are of patients with heart failure. It is necessary for dissemination of ACP to characterize the perceptions
of physicians and nurses towards ACP and to promote mutual understanding. The aim of this study is to investigate the perceptions of physicians and nurses concerning ACP for patients with heart failure.
Methods: We conducted a self-administered questionnaire survey with physicians and nurses who belonged to the 427 certified institutions for implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and/or cardiac
resynchronization therapy (CRT) in Japan. The self-administered questionnaire was originally designed based on the guidelines on palliative care or ACP and previous studies on the barriers of ACP. We asked the participants the recognition about condition/timing to implement ACP, Content of care to be implemented in ACP, and barriers against implementing ACP. A Mann-Whitney U test was performed and r value was calculated an effect size (ES) in order to evaluate the characteristic perceptions among physicians and nurses.
Results: Valid responses were obtained from 163 physicians (38.2%) and 208 nurses (48.7%). Regarding the condition/timing, nurses tended to recognize that ACP should be implemented from earlier clinical
stages than physicians. Regarding the contents of ACP, both physicians and nurses placed emphasis in assessing the patient’s perception of disease progression. The biggest difference was found in the item
“Ask patient about what has been important in life so far”; 78.6% of physicians but 94.2% of nurses chose “it must/should be implemented” (Cohen’s r=0.31). Regarding the barriers, both physicians and nurses
recognized the difficulty in prognosis prediction. The biggest differences were found in the items “Medical staff does not know how to implement ACP for patients and their families” (45.6% of physicians and 70.4% of nurses chose “strongly agree/agree”, r=0.27), and “There is disagreement regarding care goals among team members of different professions” (18.5% in physicians and 43.3% in nurses, r=0.27).
Conclusions: It is suggested that discussions and further studies are necessary concerning the condition/timing of implementing ACP from early stages, specific manuals/protocols and recommendation on rolesharing within a multidisciplinary team.
This study aimed to identify the relationships of perception of hospice and palliative care with emotional intelligence and cognitive empathy in nursing students. The participants were 458 nursing students. Data were collected using structured questionnaires and analyzed with Pearson correlation coefficients, independent-samples t test, and binary logistic regression. Perception of hospice and palliative care was significantly and positively correlated with emotional intelligence (r = 0.224, P < .001) and cognitive empathy (r = 0.311, P < .001). Mean score differences of perception of hospice and palliative care by emotional intelligence and cognitive empathy were statistically significant (t = -3.973, P < .001; t = -4.109, P < .001, respectively). Logistic regression yielded an odds ratio of 1.860 (P < .001; 95% confidence interval, 1.283-2.698) between the perception of hospice and palliative care and emotional intelligence and an odds ratio of 2.028 (P < .001; 95% confidence interval, 1.394–2.951) between the perception of hospice and palliative care and cognitive empathy. Emotional intelligence and cognitive empathy should be cultivated to raise nursing students' perception of hospice and palliative care and must be included when developing related curricula and extracurricular programs.
OBJECTIVE: Quality end-of-life (EOL) care is critical for dying residents and their family/friend caregivers. While best practices to support resident comfort at EOL in long-term care (LTC) homes are emerging, research rarely explores if and how the type of care received at EOL may contribute to caregivers' perceptions of a good death. To address this gap, this study explored how care practices at EOL contributed to caregivers' perceptions of a good resident death.
METHOD: This study used a retrospective cross-sectional survey design. Seventy-eight participants whose relative or friend died in one of five LTC homes in Canada completed self-administered questionnaires on their perceptions of EOL care and perceptions of a good resident death.
RESULTS: Overall, caregivers reported positive experiences with EOL care and perceived residents to have died a good death. However, communication regarding what to expect in the final days of life and attention to spiritual issues were often missing components of care. Further, when explored alongside direct resident care, family support, and rooming conditions, staff communication was the only aspect of EOL care significantly associated with caregivers' perceptions of a good resident death.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: The findings of this study suggest that the critical role staff in LTC play in supporting caregivers' perceptions of a good resident death. By keeping caregivers informed about expectations at the very end of life, staff can enhance caregivers' perceptions of a good resident death. Further, by addressing spiritual issues staff may improve caregivers' perceptions that residents were at peace when they died.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the perception of attending physicians, medical residents, and undergraduate medical students about death and dying, the end of life (EoL), and palliative care (PC) during training and clinical practice, highlighting knowledge gaps, and the changes needed in medical school curricula.
METHOD: Cross-sectional study of 12 attending physicians, residents, and undergraduate medical students randomly selected from a single teaching hospital in São Paulo, Brazil, 2018. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, transcripts were coded in depth, and categorizing analysis was carried out.
RESULTS: Three topical categories were recognized: Negative feelings about death and the EoL, importance of PC, and gaps in curricular structure hindering preparedness for PC and EoL communication. Besides differing perspectives depending on their years of experience, all participants strongly endorsed that the current medical school curriculum does not train and support physicians to handle EoL and PC.
CONCLUSIONS: Medical education plays a fundamental role in the development of knowledge and skills on death, dying, and PC. Such practices should extend throughout the course and be continuously improved after graduates move to clinical practice.
Accompanied suicide is a controversial topic with varying practice across Europe; therefore, there is very little guidance on how healthcare professionals should be educated on accompanied suicide. This study implemented an anonymous, cross-sectional online survey to discover the perceptions of final-year MPharm students on accompanied suicide and the factors affecting one’s views, with the aim of investigating the knowledge, awareness and opinions of pharmacy students regarding accompanied suicide, as well as education to pharmacy students. Surveys were disseminated to final-year pharmacy students at Kingston University between January and March 2019. The survey comprised of three sections: Section A consisting of definitions – to determine knowledge of pharmacy students. Section B including case studies – to understand the opinions of pharmacy students and identify influential patient factors. Section C involving demographics – to discover the influential participant factors. An ethics application was submitted and approved prior to conducting this study. The data yielded a total of 111 responses out of a possible 139 (80% response rate); 77.5% participants were unable to correctly define each term given, with many also agreeing their lack of knowledge affected their views. Overall, most pharmacy students disagreed with accompanied suicide, regardless of the patient factors. Additionally, religious participants were more likely to disagree with the patient request (p < 0.03). Three recommendations were concluded to improve the education of pharmacy students: (1) an approved medical organisation to specifically define terminology, (2) include accompanied suicide in the pharmacy syllabus and (3) include lesser known terminal illnesses on the pharmacy syllabus.
Background: Family meetings are often conducted in palliative care, but there is no universal agreed or accepted model. A new model of Patient-Centered Family Meetings is proposed whereby the patient sets the agenda.
Aim: To seek palliative care clinicians' perceptions and experiences of Patient-Centered Family Meetings (“Meetings”) and their acceptability and feasibility in the inpatient specialist palliative care setting.
Design: A qualitative study used semistructured interviews. Theoretical and procedural direction was taken from grounded theory with thematic content analysis using the constant comparative method.
Setting/Participants: Interviews were conducted with clinicians (n = 10) at the intervention site who had participated in a Meeting.
Results: Four themes were identified: (1) a patient-set agenda gives patients a “voice”; (2) a patient-set agenda and the Meeting model enhances clinicians' understanding of patients and families; (3) the Meeting model was perceived to be acceptable; and (4) the Meeting model was perceived to be only feasible for selected patients.
Conclusion: Clinicians perceived that a patient-set meeting agenda with defined questions enhanced their knowledge of the patient's issues and their understanding of the patient and their family's needs. The patients' most important issues often differed from the clinicians' expectations of what might be important to individual patients. There were contrasting views about the acceptability and feasibility of these Meetings as standard practice due to clinician time constraints and the Meeting not being required or relevant to all patients. Given the perceived benefits, the identification of patients and families who would most benefit is an important research priority.
CONTEXT: There has been a growing consensus that parenteral nutrition and hydration is to be forgone in terminally ill patients with cancer. However, it remains unclear what the beliefs and perceptions of parenteral nutrition and hydration by the family members are.
OBJECTIVES: To clarify their beliefs and perceptions and to examine the relationships between the factors of family members, their beliefs and perceptions, and their overall satisfaction with the care the patient received at the place of death.
METHODS: This study was performed as a part of the cross-sectional anonymous nationwide survey of the bereaved family members of cancer patients in Japan.
RESULTS: In total, 1001 questionnaires were sent and 610 were returned. Among these, 499 were analyzed. Regarding the prevalence of beliefs and perceptions about parenteral nutrition and hydration, 'When a patient cannot eat enough, parenteral hydration is needed' was the highest (87.7%), followed by 'The opinions of medical staff are important in the issue of parenteral nutrition and hydration', 'Parenteral hydration serves as a substitute for oral hydration', and 'If I were a patient and could not eat enough, parenteral hydration would be needed' (85.1, 81.0, and 80.0%, respectively). We extracted two concepts as follows: 'Belief that parenteral nutrition and hydration are beneficial' and 'Perceived need for parenteral nutrition and hydration'. They were not identified as independent determinants of overall care satisfaction.
CONCLUSION: This study showed that beliefs and perceptions about parenteral nutrition and hydration were important in the family members in palliative care.
BACKGROUND: Despite advances in medical care, pediatric deaths are still an unfortunate reality. Most of these deaths occur within a hospital setting. End-of-life care is an important part of medical care for children with serious illnesses. Despite the importance, pediatric providers report a lack of comfort surrounding end-of-life care.
OBJECTIVE: To assess categorical pediatric residents' perceptions and participation in providing end-of-life care to dying children and their families.
STUDY DESIGN: This is a survey-based, descriptive, mixed-methods study. Survey was sent to categorical pediatric residents at Indiana University School of Medicine in June 2018 to obtain both quantitative and qualitative information on resident perception and participation in end-of-life care. Surveys were sent to 100 residents with a response rate of 68%.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Pediatric residents at Indiana University School of Medicine.
RESULTS: The comfort and participation in end-of-life care are limited in all levels of pediatric training. Residents do not feel comfortable with 19 of 22 questions related to end-of-life care. Only 32% of residents felt their education prepared them to participate in end-of-life care. Almost one-fifth (19.5%) of residents report participating in zero aspect of end-of-life care. Themes discussed by residents include education, experience, communication, social norms, emotions, self-care, comfort, and family.
CONCLUSION: More formalized education and training is needed to increase resident comfort with and participation in end-of-life care. Such future interventions should focus on communication surrounding difficult conversations and providing guidance for families.
This study was conducted to determine neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses' opinions about the palliative care needs of neonates with multiple congenital anomalies. The study sample consisted of the 20 nurses who agreed to participate in the study and worked in the NICU between November and December 2017. A one-to-one interview method was utilized using a semistructured interview form. Written consent was obtained from participants and reconfirmed verbally prior to data collection. In the study, most of the nurses stated that the therapeutic medical treatment should not be started for dying neonates with multiple congenital anomalies. It was also found that nurses did not have enough palliative care knowledge for neonates. The palliative care needs of the neonates with multiple congenital anomalies in NICUs were found to be pain management, infection care, enhancing quality of life by avoiding unnecessary medical practices, skin care, the care of the baby in the ventilator, timely application of the treatment of neonates, and supporting family.
As the population of chronically ill, older adults increases, there is a growing need for palliative care. The Institute of Medicine recommends that health care providers have a basic competency in palliative care. However, the definition of basic palliative care in practice and providers' understanding of basic palliative care lack clarity. The purpose of this study was to describe nurses' perceptions of basic palliative care in the acute care setting. This was accomplished by conducting focus group and individual interviews. The major themes of helping families navigate chronic illness and empowering families and subthemes of being present, giving options, and advocating emerged from the analysis. Through education and role modeling, nurses helped families navigate illness and end-of-life experiences. Study findings describe acute care nurses' perceptions of basic palliative care and may help to identify the educational needs of nurses in order to provide basic palliative care for patients and their families in acute care settings.
Background: The prevalence of undertreated cancer pain remains high. Suboptimal pain control affects quality of life and results in psychological and emotional distress. Barriers to adequate pain control include fear of opioid dependence and its side effects.
Aim: To investigate the attitudes and perceptions of morphine use in cancer pain in advanced cancer patients and their caregivers and to examine the influence of caregivers’ attitudes and perceptions on patients’ acceptance of morphine.
Design: Qualitative study involving semi-structured individual interviews transcribed verbatim and analyzed thematically.
Setting/Participants: A total of 18 adult opioid-naïve patients with advanced cancer and 13 caregivers (n = 31) were recruited at a private tertiary hospital via convenience sampling.
Results: Attitudes and perceptions of morphine were influenced by previous experiences. Prevalent themes were similar in both groups, including perceptions that morphine was a strong analgesic that reduced suffering, but associated with end-stage illness and dependence. Most participants were open to future morphine use for comfort and effective pain control. Trust in doctors’ recommendations was also an important factor. However, many preferred morphine as a last resort because of concerns about side effects and dependence, and the perception that morphine was only used at the terminal stage. Caregivers’ attitudes toward morphine did not affect patients’ acceptance of morphine use.
Conclusion: Most participants were open to future morphine use despite negative perceptions as they prioritized optimal pain control and reduction of suffering. Focused education programs addressing morphine misperceptions might increase patient and caregiver acceptance of opioid analgesics and improve cancer pain control.