Research results suggest that illness can undermine patients' dignity and that dignity can be understood as an experience formed in communion with others. The aim of this study was, therefore, to illuminate the meanings of lived experiences of dignity as an intersubjective phenomenon from the perspective of dyads in palliative care. The authors analyzed transcripts from interviews with nine dyads using a phenomenological-hermeneutical method. Within the contexts of the dyadic relationship and the dyadic-health care professional relationship, the authors' interpretation revealed two meanings based on the participants' lived experiences: "Being available," related to responding and being responded to in terms of answerability and we-ness, and "Upholding continuity," linked to feeling attached through the maintenance of emotional bonds and being connected through upholding valued activities and qualities in daily living. The authors further reflected on the meanings in relation to philosophically grounded concepts such as presence, objectification, dependence, and dyadic body.
BACKGROUND: Despite complex illness trajectories and a high symptom burden, palliative care has been sub-optimal for patients with end-stage kidney disease and hemodialysis treatment who have a high rate of hospitalization and intensive care towards end of life. There is a growing awareness that further development of palliative care is required to meet the needs of these patients and their family members. In this process, it is important to explore healthcare professionals' views on provision of care. The aim of this study was therefore to describe nurses' and physicians' perspectives on end-of-life and palliative care of patients treated with maintenance hemodialysis.
METHODS: Four focus group interviews were conducted with renal nurses (17) and physicians (5) in Sweden. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze data.
RESULTS: Participants were committed to giving the best possible care to their patients, but there were challenges and barriers to providing quality palliative care in nephrology settings. Professionals described palliative care as end-of-life care associated with hemodialysis withdrawal or palliative dialysis, but also identified care needs and possibilities that are in line with an earlier integrated palliative approach. This was perceived as complex from an organizational point of view. Participants identified challenges related to coordination of care and different perspectives on care responsibilities that impacted symptom management and patients' quality of life. Communication issues relating to the provision of palliative care were revealed where the hemodialysis setting was regarded as an impediment, and personal and professional experiences, beliefs and knowledge were considered of major importance.
CONCLUSIONS: Nurses and physicians identified a need for the improvement of both late and earlier palliative care approaches. The results highlighted a requirement for and possibilities of training, counselling and support of health care professionals in the dialysis context. Further, multi-professional palliative care collaborations should be developed to improve the coordination and organization of end-of-life and palliative care of patients and their family members. A climate allowing conversations about advance care planning throughout the illness trajectory may facilitate the gradual integration of palliative care alongside life-prolonging treatment for improved support of patients and families.
OBJECTIVES: For patients' entire families, it can be challenging to live with cancer during the palliative stage. However, a sense of coherence buffers stress and could help health professionals identify families that require support. Therefore, the short version of the Family Sense of Coherence Scale (FSOC-S) was translated, culturally adapted, and validated in a Swedish sample.
METHODS: Translation and cross-cultural adaptation of the FSOC-S into Swedish was conducted in accordance with the World Health Organization's Process for Translation and Adaptation of Research Instruments guidelines. Participants were recruited from two oncology clinics and two palliative centers in Sweden.
RESULTS: Content validity was supported by experts (n = 7), persons with cancer (n = 179), and family members (n = 165). Homogeneity among items was satisfactory for persons with cancer and family members (item-total correlations were 0.45 0.70 and 0.55 0.72, respectively) as well as internal consistency (ordinal alpha = 0.91 and 0.91, respectively). Factor analyses supported unidimensionality. FSOC-S correlated (rs > 0.3) with hope, anxiety, and symptoms of depression, which supported convergent validity. The test-retest reliability for items ranged between fair and good (kw = 0.37 0.61).
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: The FSOC-S has satisfactory measurement properties to assess family sense of coherence in persons with cancer and their family members. FSOC-S could be used to identify family members who experience low levels of perceived family sense of coherence which provides health care professionals with insight into families' needs and ability to live with cancer in the palliative stage.
BACKGROUND: There is evidence indicating that family sense of coherence predicts quality of family life and promotes family well-being. In families living with the palliative phase of cancer, low hope, anxiety and symptoms of depression are common in both persons with cancer and their family members.
AIM: To determine whether family sense of coherence was associated with hope, anxiety and symptoms of depression, respectively, in persons with cancer in the palliative phase and their family members.
DESIGN: An observational, cross-sectional, multicentre study was conducted. Nested linear regression analyses were performed in two blocks to determine whether family sense of coherence was associated with hope, anxiety and symptoms of depression.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Persons with cancer (n = 179) and their family members (n = 165) were recruited from two oncology clinics and two palliative centres in three regions in Sweden.
RESULTS: The main findings showed that family sense of coherence was significantly and independently associated with hope, anxiety and symptoms of depression. Stronger family sense of coherence was associated with higher hope and lower anxiety and symptoms of depression levels in both persons with cancer and their family members.
CONCLUSION: Health care providers should strive to identify families with weak family sense of coherence, because of its associations with hope, anxiety and symptoms of depression, in order to offer them professional support and thereby achieve increased well-being during the palliative phase of cancer. Future studies should expand our knowledge of family sense of coherence and how to identify families at risk of lower levels of well-being.
BACKGROUND: Nurses and physicians in nephrology settings provide care for patients with end-stage kidney disease receiving hemodialysis treatment along a complex illness trajectory.
AIM: The aim was to explore physicians' and nurses' perspectives on the trajectories toward the end of life involving decisions regarding hemodialysis withdrawal for patients with end-stage kidney disease.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: A qualitative research approach was used. Four mixed focus group interviews were conducted with renal physicians (5) and nurses (17) in Sweden. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse data.
ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS: Ethical approval was obtained (Dnr 2014/304-31).
FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION: Findings illuminated multi-faceted, intertwined processes encompassing healthcare professionals, patients, and family members. The analysis resulted in four themes: Complexities of initiating end-of-life conversations, Genuine attentiveness to the patient's decision-making process, The challenge awaiting the family members' processes, and Negotiating different professional responsibilities. Findings showed complexities and challenges when striving to provide good, ethical care which are related to beneficence, nonmaleficence, and self-determination, and which can give rise to moral distress.
CONCLUSION: There are ethical challenges and strains in the dialysis context that healthcare professionals may not always be prepared for. Supporting healthcare professionals in not allowing complexities to hinder the patient's possibilities for shared decision-making seems important. An open and continual communication, including family meetings, from dialysis initiation could serve to make conversations involving decisions about hemodialysis withdrawal a more natural routine, as well as build up a relationship of trust necessary for the advance care planning about the end of life. Healthcare professionals should also receive support in ethical reasoning to meet these challenges and handle potential moral distress in the dialysis context.
BACKGROUND: How patients preserve their sense of dignity in life is an important area of palliative care that remains to be explored.
AIMS: To describe patients' perspectives of what constitutes a dignified life within a palliative care context.
METHODS: Twelve palliative care patients were interviewed about their views on living with dignity. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis.
RESULTS: What constitutes a dignified life during end-of-life care was captured by the theme 'I may be ill but I am still a human being' and presented under the categories 'preserving my everyday life and personhood', 'having my human value maintained by others through 'coherence' and 'being supported by society at large'.
CONCLUSION: Patients' sense of dignity can be preserved by their own attitudes and behaviours, by others and through public support. Health professionals need to adopt a dignity-conserving approach, for which awareness of their own attitudes and behaviours is crucial.
BACKGROUND: Despite increased attention and knowledge in palliative care, there is still confusion concerning how to interpret the concept of palliative care and implement it in practice. This can result in difficulties for healthcare professionals in identifying patients whom would benefit from palliative care, which, in turn, could lead to a delay in meeting patients' needs.
AIM: To explore healthcare professionals' perceptions of palliative care.
METHOD: Data were collected through twelve interprofessional focus group interviews in community care and hospital wards in south Sweden (n = 74). All interviews were analysed with latent content analysis.
RESULTS: Three domains were revealed: first, a blurred conceptual understanding as participants described palliative care using synonyms, diagnoses, phases, natural care and holism; second, a challenge to communicate transitions concerned the importance of how and when the transition to palliative care was communicated and documented; finally, a need for interprofessional collaboration was described as well as the consequences for severely ill persons, relatives and healthcare professionals when it was not established.
CONCLUSION: The perceptions about how to interpret palliative care differed as well as when palliative care should be offered and decided, which might have practical consequences. How long a person has left to live is of great significance for decision-making, caregiving and preparation in palliative care. The challenge is to use interprofessional communication to promote understanding and collaborate across varied care levels. Integrating palliative care across diverse care levels could be one way to reduce the ambiguity of palliative care.
Nursing homes are often places where older persons “come to die.” Despite this, death and dying are seldom articulated or talked about. The aim of this study was to explore assistant nurses’ experiences of conversations about death and dying with nursing home residents. This study is part of an implementation project through a knowledge-based educational intervention based on palliative care principles. An ethnographic study design was applied in seven nursing homes, where eight assistant nurses were interviewed and followed in their daily assignments through participant observations. The assistant nurses stated that they had the knowledge and tools to conduct such conversations, even though they lacked the time and felt that emotional strain could be a hinder for conversations about death and dying. The assistant nurses used the strategies of distracting, comforting, and disregarding either when they perceived that residents’ reflections on death and dying were part of their illness and disease or when there was a lack of alignment between the residents’ contemplations and the concept of dying well. They indicated that ambivalence and ambiguity toward conversations about death and dying should be taken into consideration in future implementations of knowledge-based palliative care that take place in nursing homes after this project is finalized.
AIM: To explore the concept of home and its' expressed spatialities in current palliative care research.
BACKGROUND: Home is a central environment for living, caring, and dying. However, pure investigations of the sets of ideas linked to the concept seemed missing. Although identified as an important location, spatial perspectives expressed through the concept of home appeared unexplored.
DESIGN: Rodgers' evolutionary concept analysis.
DATA SOURCES: Scientific articles published between January 2009 and September 2015.
REVIEW METHODS: Rodgers' evolutionary concept analysis. Resulting attributes were explored from two geographically informed spatial perspectives.
RESULTS: As main results, six attributes were identified and explored: Home as actor-capable of acting; emotional environment-something people have feelings for; place-a part of personal identity and a location; space-complex and relational spatial connections and a site for care; setting-passive background and absolute space; becoming-a fluid spatiality constantly folded. Examples of attributes and suggestions for further concept development were identified.
CONCLUSIONS: The concept reflects various sets of ideas as well as expressing both relational and absolute perspectives of space. The most challenging for nursing research and practice seems to be investigation, operationalization, and testing the implementation of sets of ideas reflecting a relational thinking of space.
BACKGROUND: The demography of the world is changing as the population is ageing. Because of this change to a higher proportion of older people, the WHO has called for improved palliative care for older persons. A large number of all deaths in the industrialised world occur while older people are living in nursing homes and therefore a key question becomes how the principles of palliative care can be implemented in that context. The aims of this study are: a) to describe a model of an educational intervention with the goal of implementing knowledge-based palliative care in nursing homes, and b) to describe the design of the evaluation of the effectiveness regarding the implementation of knowledge-based palliative care.
METHODS/DESIGN: A complex intervention is evaluated by means of a cross-over design. An educational intervention concerning palliative care consisting of five seminars during 6 months for staff and managers has been developed and conducted in 20 nursing homes in two counties. Before the intervention started, the feasibility was tested in a pilot study conducted in nursing homes not included in the main study. The intervention is evaluated through a non-randomized experimental design with intervention and control groups and pre- and post-assessments. The evaluation includes older persons living in nursing homes, next-of-kin, staff and managers. Data collection consists of quantitative methods such as questionnaires and register data and qualitative methods in the form of individual interviews, focus-group interviews and participant observations.
DISCUSSION: The research will contribute to new knowledge about how to implement knowledge-based palliative care in a nursing home setting. A strength of this project is that the Medical Research Council framework of complex intervention is applied. The four recommended stages, Development, Feasibility and piloting, Evaluation and Implementation, are combined for the educational intervention, which functions as a strategy to achieve knowledge-based palliative care in the nursing homes. Implementation is always a question of change and a good theoretical understanding is needed for drawing valid conclusions about the causal mechanisms of change. The topic is highly relevant considering the world's ageing population. The data collection is completed and the analysis is ongoing.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT02708498 .
This study aimed to illuminate aspects of familial interactions when one member is in the palliative phase of his/her cancer course. An individual cancer diagnosis influences the entire family, often requiring daily life changes for all members. Current research has examined individual family member perspectives; family system nursing studies are warranted. Narrative family interviews were conducted on 13 families living with cancer. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed according to a hermeneutic method. Analyses revealed the following: Family interaction patterns were adjusted in response to changes in family life, which encompassed 3 different, but interrelated, patterns: (1) power dynamics in the family, (2) the “secret game” in the family, and (3) multifaceted closeness and distance in the family. It is crucial to adopt a family perspective during palliative care to meet each unique family's needs. Health care facilitators should be aware of the complex dynamics and challenges that these families encounter. This will help obtain a greater understanding of factors underlying effective palliative care.