PURPOSE: recent data show that there is limited evidence and guidance regarding the best practices for the integration of palliative care (PC) and end-of-life (EOL) post-stroke. The purpose of this meta-synthesis is to understand the PC/EOL experiences after a stroke.
METHODS: a meta-synthesis was conducted to answer the following research question-What are post-stroke PC/EOL experiences from the perspectives of patients, families and healthcare professionals (HCPs)? This approach was completed through two main phases-a systematic search and appraisal of the literature and reciprocal translation with interpretive triangulation of the extracted data. Databases searched were MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Joanna Briggs Institute and CINAHL databases (from their inception to April 2020). After data were extracted, a qualitative exploratory design was used to evaluate the PC/EOL in post-stroke experiences.
RESULTS: the search identified 696 studies. A total of 14 studies were included in this meta-synthesis as they satisfied our eligibility criteria. Uncertainty post-stroke was the overarching main theme that emerged across post-stroke PC/EOL experiences. Within this theme of uncertainty, opportunities to decrease uncertainty emerged from two interdependent themes-presence of cohesive communication and shared dynamic decision process for both families and HCPs.
CONCLUSIONS: to mitigate the degree of uncertainty post-stroke, HCPs should be present, provide clear direct communication and incorporate the value-based goals of care within their medical treatment plan. These findings suggest that future research is needed to focus on how PC approaches can be integrated into stroke care programmes.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this update, presented at the 2018 Annual Assembly of the American Association of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA), is to identify, summarize, and critique a sampling of recent research that has the potential for marked impact on hospice and palliative clinical practice.
METHODS: In a departure from previous years, we surveyed AAHPM and HPNA members to determine focused topic areas, from which we selected candidate articles. The two topic areas selected by the membership were "Moving into the great beyond: bringing palliative care into the subspecialties" and "Improving the conversation for patients with serious illness." Seven reports of original research published between January 1, 2012 and November 3, 2017 were identified through a systematic search of relevant databases, hand searching of leading journals, and discussion with experts in the field. Candidate articles were scored and ranked independently by four reviewers based on methodological quality, appeal to a breadth of palliative care clinicians across settings, and potential for impact.
RESULTS: We summarize the seven articles with the highest ratings.
BACKGROUND: Laypersons including volunteers, community health navigators, or peer educators provide important support to individuals with serious illnesses in community or healthcare settings. The experiences of laypersons in communication with seriously ill peers is unknown.
METHODS: We performed an ENTREQ-guided qualitative meta-synthesis. We conducted a systematic search of MEDLINE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, and AMED to include qualitative studies with data regarding communication and laypersons in advance care planning, palliative care, or end-of-life settings. Study quality was appraised using a standardized tool. The analysis identified key domains and associated themes relating specifically to laypersons' perspectives on communication.
RESULTS: Of 877 articles, nine studies provided layperson quotations related to layperson-to-peer communication associated with advance care planning (n = 4) or end-of-life conversations (n = 5). The studies were conducted in United Kingdom (n = 4) or United States settings (n = 5). The synthesis of layperson perspectives yielded five main domains: 1) layperson-to-peer communication, focusing on the experience of talking with peers, 2) layperson-to-peer interpersonal interactions, focusing on the entire interaction between the layperson and peers, excluding communication-related issues, 3) personal impact on the layperson, 4) layperson contributions, and 5) layperson training. Laypersons described using specific communication skills including the ability to build rapport, discuss sensitive issues, listen and allow silence, and respond to emotions.
CONCLUSIONS: Published studies described experiences of trained laypersons in conversations with peers related to advance care planning or end-of-life situations. Based on these layperson perspectives related to communication, programs should next evaluate the potential impact of laypersons in meaningful conversations.