Background: Family meetings facilitate the exploration of issues and goals of care however, there has been minimal research to determine the benefits and cost implications.
Aims: To determine: (1) if family caregivers of hospitalised patients referred to palliative care who receive a structured family meeting report lower psychological distress (primary outcome), fewer unmet needs, improved quality of life; feel more prepared for the caregiving role; and receive better quality of end-of-life care; (2) if outcomes vary dependant upon site of care and; (3) the cost-benefit of implementing meetings into routine practice.
Design: Pragmatic cluster randomised trial involving palliative care patients and their primary family caregivers at three Australian hospitals. Participants completed measures upon admission (Time 1); 10 days later (Time 2) and two months after the patient died (Time 3). Regression analyses, health utilisation and process evaluation were conducted.
Results: 297 dyads recruited; control (n = 153) and intervention (n = 144). The intervention group demonstrated significantly lower psychological distress (Diff: –1.68, p < 0.01) and higher preparedness (Diff: 3.48, p = 0.001) at Time 2. No differences were identified based on quality of end of life care or health utilisation measures.
Conclusions: Family meetings may be helpful in reducing family caregiver distress and enhancing their preparedness for the caregiving role and it appears they may be conducted without increased hospital health utilisation impacts; although opportunity costs need to be considered in order to routinely offer these as a standardised intervention. Additional health economic examination is also advocated to comprehensively understand the cost-benefit implications.
Trial Registration: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12615000200583
OBJECTIVE: Parents often feel ill-equipped to prepare their dependent children (<18 years old) for the death of a parent, necessitating support from professionals. The aim of this study is to explore health and social care professionals' (HSCPs) experiences and perceptions of providing supportive care to parents regarding their children, when a parent is dying from cancer.
METHODS: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 32 HSCPs, including nurses, allied health professionals, social workers and doctors from specialist or generalist roles, across acute or community sectors.
RESULTS: HSCPs' perceptions of the challenges faced by many families when a parent is dying from cancer included: parental uncertainties surrounding if, when and how to tell the children that their parent was dying, the demands of managing everyday life, and preparing the children for the actual death of their parent. Many HSCPs felt ill-equipped to provide care to parents at end of life concerning their children. The results are discussed under two themes: (1) hurdles to overcome when providing psychological support to parents at end of life and (2) support needs of families for the challenging journey ahead.
CONCLUSIONS: There appears to be a disparity between HSCPs' awareness of the needs of families when a parent is dying and what is provided in practice. HSCPs can have a supportive role and help equip parents, as they prepare their children for the death of their parent. Appropriate training and guideline provision could promote this important aspect of end of life care into practice.
Limited evidence suggests carers of people with pulmonary fibrosis (PF) have a variety of information and support needs. This pilot focus group discussion, carried out in 2019, aimed to explore the needs of carers of people with pulmonary fibrosis and evaluate the impact of a UK hospice PF carers’ support group. Analysis revealed: (1) loneliness and connection, (2) negotiating with and motivating their loved-ones, and (3) the importance of the best environment for support as key themes. Participants reported a need for both practical and emotional support with the carers’ own health sometimes neglected. This evaluation concluded that peer support specifically with other PF carers was hugely valuable to the participants, as was the hospice environment itself. It is recommended that PF-specific carer support is considered when designing services for people with pulmonary fibrosis.
BACKGROUND: Provision of paediatric palliative care is complex and optimally covers meeting the individual needs of a heterogenous population of children and their parent caregivers throughout a life-limiting illness. It is unclear whether existing approaches comprehensively address parent caregivers' needs.
AIM: To examine support needs of parents caring for children with life limiting illnesses and identify specific approaches used to identify and address needs.
DESIGN: A scoping review.
DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL and ProQuest Central, were searched for peer reviewed English language full text research published from 2008 to 2019. Study quality appraisal was undertaken. Fourteen quantitative, 18 qualitative and 12 mixed methods studies were synthesised and themed using summative content analysis and mapped to the Parent Supportive Care Needs Framework (PSCNF).
RESULTS: Themes were communication, choice, information, practical, social, psychological, emotional and physical. Communication and choice were central and additional to domains of the PSCNF. Unmet were needs for supporting siblings, for respite care, out of hours, psychological, home and educational support. Six articles reported using instruments to identify parent carer support needs.
CONCLUSION: Support needs of parent caregivers of children with life limiting illnesses are substantial and heterogenous. While studies report evidence of burden and distress in parent caregivers, this rarely translates into improvements in practice through the development of interventions. A systematic and regular assessment of individual parent caregiver support needs is required by using instruments appropriate to use in clinical practice to move the focus to palliative care interventions and improved services for parents.
Burnout, a condition characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and decreased personal accomplishment, has been studied in many disciplines in health care, including nursing, medicine, and social work. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between perceived organizational support, coworker social support, the nursing practice environment, and nurse demographics (age, years of nursing experience, education level, marital status, and sex) on burnout in a national sample of palliative care nurses. The study aims were (1) to examine the relationship between perceived organizational support, coworker social support, and nursing practice environment on burnout in palliative care nurses; (2) to examine the relationship between age, years of nursing experience, education level, marital status, and sex on burnout in palliative care nurses; and (3) to examine potential moderators (perceived organizational support and coworker social support) on the relationship between demographic characteristics and palliative care nurse burnout. A convenience sample of 73 Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association registered nurses who were bedside caregivers was recruited from Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association's membership. Data were analyzed using Pearson correlation and regression modeling. Findings indicated palliative care nurses had moderate to high levels of burnout. There was a negative correlation between burnout and perceived organizational support, and between burnout and coworker social support. The nursing practice environment of palliative care nurses was favorable; perceived organizational support and coworker social support were not moderators for demographics of age and years of experience and their relationship to burnout.
BACKGROUND: Euthanasia has been regulated by law under strict conditions in the Netherlands since 2002. Since then the number of euthanasia cases has constantly increased, and increased exponentially for patients with dementia (PWD). The number of euthanasia requests by such patients is even higher. Recently, an interview study showed that physicians who are confronted with a PWD's euthanasia request experience problems with communication, pressure from relatives, patients, and society, workload, interpretation of the law, and ethical considerations. Moreover, if honoured, the physician and patient may interpret the right moment for euthanasia differently.
AIM: To identify ways of supporting GPs confronted with a PWD's euthanasia request.
DESIGN AND SETTING: Two expert nominal group meetings were organised with Dutch care physicians for older people, GPs, legal experts, a healthcare chaplain, a palliative care consultant, and a psychologist.
METHOD: A total of 15 experts participated in the meetings. Both meetings were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using thematic analysis.
RESULTS: Four themes emerged from the meetings: support provided by healthcare professionals, influencing public opinion, educational activities, and managing time and work pressure. The need for support was considered highest for GPs for all of these themes.
CONCLUSION: Consensus was reached with the help of experts on support needs for GPs confronted with euthanasia requests from PWD. A concise and clear explanation of the law is strongly desired. Changing public opinion seems the most challenging and a long-term aim. Communication training for finding the right balance between the physician's professional responsibility and the patient's autonomy should be made available, as a short-term aim.
Providing home care to children with complex physical health needs is an emotionally challenging role. Extant literature and documents such as the Cavendish Review (2013) have reported that a large proportion of care for this population is carried out by non-registered staff (support workers). Provision of clinical supervision for nurses working in palliative care is increasing, however, supervision needs of support workers are commonly neglected. This paper sought to synthesise what is known about clinical supervision practices for support workers in paediatric palliative care (PPC). A literature review was conducted in accordance with integrative review guidelines. 315 papers were identified initially, 15 studies were included in this review. Four commonalities were identified: importance of team cohesion, varying degrees of formality, self-awareness and practicalities. Support workers received varying forms of supervision and some facilitators faced organisational difficulties involving staff in supervision. Support workers who received staff support generally appreciated it in recognition that their work is complex and emotionally difficult. This paper highlighted that further research should investigate the efficacy of clinical supervision as a method of reducing stress and burnout for support workers. Any implementation of supervision should involve a considered approach to training and supervision to ensure fidelity.
BACKGROUND: Caring for loved ones with palliative needs can be very stressful for carers'. To address this growing issue, an online Home Caregiver Support Program course was created to provide information to non-professional home caregivers about end-of-life care.
OBJECTIVES: To measure non-professional caregivers' perceived level of competence in addressing physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs before and after completing online training modules.
METHODS: Learners rated their competence before and after completing online modules addressing 4 key dimensions relevant to palliative caregivers. Self-ratings of competence were assessed through surveys, completed before and after the online modules. Scores from before and after each module were compared to determine if the online course had increased participant competence. The Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to analyze participant responses to the pre- and post-survey questions.
RESULTS: A total of 176 participants who completed one or more of the online modules between July 2017-December 2018, 70 (40%) of the participants completed at least one pre- and post-module survey and did not declare themselves as a professional caregiver. Participating in the online Home Caregiver Support Program increased participants' ratings of perceived competence in all domains (p < .01). This significance was maintained when professional caregivers were added to our analysis.
CONCLUSION: After the completing the modules, participants' self-ratings of perceived competence increased suggesting that participants completing the online program had improved knowledge in addressing the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual challenges faced by non-professional caregivers.
Context: The WHO recognizes the need to attend to patients' spiritual needs as being fundamental to comprehensive and high-quality end-of-life care. Spiritual needs must be attended to since the resolution of biological and psychosocial issues is insufficient to reduce patients' suffering. Associations have been found between spiritual needs and other variables of importance for patients in palliative care. Despite the consensus that exists regarding the importance of assessing and attending to spiritual needs, professionals encounter many difficulties in attempting to do so.
Objectives: Our study aims to demonstrate the benefits that the Kibo therapeutic interview in palliative care patients can have for spirituality, demoralization, and resilience.
Methods: A parallel randomized controlled trial of two groups was undertaken. Information on 60 palliative care patients during pre- and post-intervention time points was gathered.
Results: ANOVAs showed a statistically significant effect of the intervention on the dimension of transpersonal spirituality. The ANCOVA for the effect of the intervention on resilience also pointed to its effectiveness. When the means of demoralization were examined, a higher decrease in the levels of demoralization for patients in the intervention group was observed, when compared to patients in the control group.
Conclusion: Our findings point to this interview as an effective means to attend to the spiritual needs of palliative patients, reducing demoralization and increasing resilience. Future research could focus on a broader sample and on the effects of this interview on family caregivers, mourners, and health care professionals.
Many people move in and out of hospital in the last few weeks of life. These care transitions can be distressing for family members because they signify the deterioration and impending death of their ill relative and forthcoming family bereavement. Whilst there is evidence about psychosocial support for family members providing end-of-life care at home, there is limited evidence about how this can be provided in acute hospitals during care transitions. Consequently, family members report a lack of support from hospital-based healthcare professionals.
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.
OBJECTIVE: Although stakeholders' participation in healthcare is increasingly recommended, bereaved parents are often excluded for perceived potential risks to them. The objective of this study is to describe the ongoing involvement and the perspectives of bereaved parents engaged in different types of activities in Neonatal Intensive Care Units and providers who work with them.
DESIGN/METHODS: Mixed methods convergent analysis.
SETTING: Canadian paediatric tertiary care university hospital.
PARTICIPANTS: All bereaved members of the resource parents group (n=8) and most providers who work with them (n=16) answered a satisfaction/needs questionnaires.
RESULTS: Since 2011, eight bereaved parents were involved in a large number of activities mostly related to palliative care (research, education or clinical care initiatives). Three engaged in peer-to-peer support activities while the others preferred activities outside of clinical units and/or without direct interactions with other families. All of them reported that their participation had positive impacts, but two parents also reported a reactivation of traumatic experiences during a medical simulation activity. All participants expressed a desire for further collaboration. Motivation to contribute gravitated around two central themes: helping others and helping themselves. Many wanted to give back, help other families, improve the system and meet with providers who had cared for their child. All stated that this kind of involvement empowered them and gave meaning to their experiences. Providers and researchers all reported positive experiences, mainly due to the unique perspectives of bereaved parents who took part in their projects.
CONCLUSIONS: With careful recruitment and supervision, some bereaved parents can become resource parents involved in different types of activities. It is important to understand the positive impacts this type of engagement can have on their healing process and to control the risks related to their participation. Research is needed to develop pertinent tools and measures to evaluate the outcomes and impacts of their participation.
Background: Parents of seriously ill children are at risk of psychosocial morbidity, which may be mitigated by competent family-centered communication and role-affirming conversations. Parent caregivers describe a guiding desire to do a good job in their parenting role but also depict struggling under the intense weight of parental duty.
Objectives and Design: Through this case study, the Communication Theory of Identity (CTI) provides a framework for conceptualizing how palliative care teams can help parents cope with this reality. CTI views communication with care teams as formative in the development and enablement of parental perceptions of their "good parenting" role.
Results: Palliative care teams may consider the four frames of identity (personal, enacted, relational, and communal) as meaningful dimensions of the parental pursuit to care well for an ill child.
Conclusion: Palliative care teams may consider compassionate communication about parental roles to support the directional virtues of multilayered dynamic parental identity.
BACKGROUND: Preparation for an impending death through EOL (end-of-life) discussions and human presence when a person is dying is important for both patients and families.
OBJECTIVE: The aim was to study whether EOL discussions were offered and to what degree patients were alone at time of death when dying from Covid-19, comparing deaths in nursing homes and hospitals.
DESIGN: The national Swedish Register of Palliative Care (SRPC) was used. All expected deaths from Covid-19 in nursing homes and hospitals were compared with, and contrasted to, deaths in a reference population (deaths in 2019).
SETTING AND SUBJECTS: A total of 1346 expected Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes (n=908) and hospitals (n=438) were analyzed.
RESULTS: Those who died were of a more advanced age in nursing homes (mean 86.4 years) and of a lower age in hospitals (mean 80.7 years) (p<0.0001). Fewer EOL discussions with patients were held compared with deaths in 2019 (74% vs. 79%, p<0.001) and dying with someone present was much more uncommon (59% vs. 83%, p<0.0001). In comparisons between nursing homes and hospital deaths, more patients dying in nursing homes were women (56% vs. 37%, p<0.0001) and significantly fewer had a retained ability to express their will during the last week of life (54% vs. 89%, p<0.0001). Relatives were present at time of death in only 13% and 24% of the cases in nursing homes and hospitals, respectively (p<0.001). The corresponding figures for staff were 52% and 38% (p<0.0001).
CONCLUSION: Dying from Covid-19 negatively affects the possibility of holding an EOL discussion and the chances of dying with someone present. This has considerable social and existential consequences for both patients and families.
Background: Nearly 3 million U.S. family caregivers support someone with cancer. However, oncology clinic-based service lines that proactively screen, assess, and support cancer caregivers are nearly nonexistent.
Objective: To examine first-year experiences of a nurse-led clinic-based telehealth support service (FamilyStrong) for family caregivers of patients with recently diagnosed grade IV brain tumors.
Methods: This is a retrospective evaluation of operational outcomes from initial implementation of the FamilyStrong Service, developed in partnership with Caregiver and Bereavement Support Services at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care. From August 2018 to December 2019, 53 family caregivers were proactively identified and enrolled by a palliative care nurse, working approximately one day/week, who performed monthly caregiver distress thermometer screenings by phone and provided emotional, educational, problem-solving, and referral support.
Results: Enrolled family caregivers were a mean age of 53.5 years and mostly female (62.3%), full- or part-time employed (67.9%), and the patient's spouse/partner (79.3%). Caregivers provided support 6.7 days/week for 11.2 hours/day. The palliative care nurse performed 235 distress screenings and provided support that included 68 documented instances of emotional, problem-solving, and educational support, 41 nurse-facilitated communications with the neuro-oncology team about patient issues, and 24 referrals to UAB and community services (e.g., counseling). The most common problems caregivers wanted assistance with included: managing their relative's health condition and symptoms (51%), coordinating care/services (21%), and planning for the future/advance care planning (17%).
Discussion: The FamilyStrong Program is among the first "real world" oncology clinic-based formal support services for advance cancer family caregivers.
Few studies have explored the inter-relationships of sources of social support and caregiving self-efficacy with caregiver burden and patient's quality of life among patients with palliative care needs and their caregivers. This study tested the associations of two sources of social support (family and friends) and the mediating role of caregiving self-efficacy on caregiver burden and patient's quality of life. A convenience sample of 225 patient-caregiver dyads recruited between September 2016 and May 2017 from three hospitals in Hong Kong was included in the current analysis. Results showed that the final model provided a satisfactory fit (SRMR = 0.070, R-RMSEA = 0.055 and R-CFI = 0.926) with the data, as good as the hypothesized model did (p = 0.326). Significant associations were detected. Family support had a significant negative indirect effect on caregiver burden and a significant positive indirect effect on patient's quality of life through caregiving self-efficacy, whereas friend support had a significant positive direct effect on caregiver burden but a minimal effect, if any, on patient's quality of life. These findings emphasized (1) the importance of caregiving self-efficacy in improving caregiver burden and patient's quality of life and that (2) sources of social support may be an important dimension moderating the associations of caregiving self-efficacy with caregiver burden and patient's quality of life.
BACKGROUND: Despite evidence that family members' support to each other can be of importance to its members, there are limited studies of factors related to family members' sense of such support during palliative care.
AIM: Based on the family systems approach, we evaluated which factors were associated with family members' sense of support within their closest family in a palliative home care context and developed a model that predicts such sense of support.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional design was used. We interviewed 209 adult family members (69% of eligible) of adult patients with expected short survival receiving palliative home care.
METHODS: Generalised linear models were used to evaluate individual factors related to family members' sense of support within their closest family during palliative care. The Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) was applied in the model-building analyses.
RESULTS: Nineteen variables were identified that were significantly associated with the family members' sense of support within the closest family. Model building selected six variables for predicting this sense of support (decreasing Wald values): family member perceiving support from other more distant family members; feeling secure with the provided palliative home care; possibility of respite if family member needed a break; family member living alone; being a child of the patient (inverse relationship); perceiving that the patient was supported by other family members.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support clinical application of the Family Systems Theory in the context of palliative care. The factors identified may be of value in assisting practitioners in detecting and treating family members sensing a low level of support within the closest family.
Background: To provide a better quality of death for patients at the end of life who choose to die at home and their families, the hospice care team at Taipei Veterans General Hospital has promoted an personalized discharged end-of-life care plan since the initial of 2018.
Methods: This study is a retrospective analysis of administrative data. All incoming calls of the 24-hour specialist palliative care emergency telephone advice service records were analyzed. Personal information of any callers or consultants was not registered in the content.
Results: A total of 728 telephone consultations was registered during the study period. The content of the consultation of different callers was significantly different (p < 0.001). The decrease in the number of calls from the patients who were discharged from the hospice ward had the largest reduction in proportion, from 80 (19.0%) to 32 (10.5%), There was a significant difference in the identity of the callers between 2017 and 2018 (p = 0.025). The proportion of consultation calls for the management of near-death symptoms significantly reduced from 15.6% to 10.5% (p = 0.027).
Conclusions: Though the evidence from this study is not enough to support that the personalized discharged end-of-life care plan might reduce the frequency of dialing 24-hour hotlines by the family members of discharged terminally ill patients. For patients who choose to die at home and their families, the hotlines provide a 24-hour humane support. Thus, we need to conduct relevant research to determine whether the service of this dedicated line meets the needs of patients and their families in the terminal stage.
BACKGROUND: The supportive hospice aged residential exchange (SHARE) is a new model of palliative care education that has been designed for residential aged care. The goal of SHARE is to help clinical staff improve palliative care within residential aged care facilities and to improve specialist palliative care nurses' knowledge and skill to care for frail older people.
METHOD: The experiences of 18 bereaved families concerning the palliative care journey (both at the start and finish of a one-year implementation of SHARE) were explored using semi-structured interviews.
RESULTS: Three themes were important to bereaved families' experience: communication with staff, systems of care, and hospice involvement. Sub-themes indicating changes in these three components of care between the start and finish of SHARE was identified. A fourth theme highlighted challenges (relationship with GP, staff shortages, and turnover) that continued across SHARE.
CONCLUSION: Findings indicated that SHARE benefited families (improved communication and support) through the end of life journey of their relatives, but challenges remained.
Les soins palliatifs demandent de plus en plus de compétences médicales, soignantes, humaines et éthiques, afin d’asseoir leur légitimité dans des domaines de plus en plus pointus de la médecine – réanimation, néonatalogie, cancérologie, gériatrie – ainsi que dans la diversité des prises en charge, y compris au domicile ou en EPHAD.
Dans ce contexte de développement des formations et d’élargissement des champs de compétences de la pratique palliative, cette 5e édition du manuel offre :
-les indispensables connaissances thérapeutiques ;
-les outils, à destination des professionnels en vue d’acquérir une compétence clinique pour la rencontre et l’accompagnement humain, psychique et relationnelle de la personne malade ;
-une contextualisation de la pratique des soins palliatifs dans leur dimension sociale, sanitaire et politique ;
-des jalons pédagogiques pour le développement des soins palliatifs dans leur dimension pédagogique et de recherche.