OBJECTIVES: Family members of children admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) suffer from severe stress, which sometimes results in long-term psychological problems. We aimed to identify associations between demographic and psychosocial variables at early stages of a child's admission to the ICU and depression and anxiety in family members at approximately 3 months after admission. We also explored predictive models for depression and anxiety at 3 months after admission.
METHODS: This study is a secondary analysis of data from a previous clinical trial of palliative care for family members in ICUs, in which 380 family members of 220 children reported demographic and psychosocial status at approximately 1 week after ICU admission (baseline), at discharge from the ICUs, and at 3 months after the child's admission to the ICU. Clinical data were extracted from the children's medical records. We used linear regression models and stepwise linear regression for the analyses.
RESULTS: After controlling for significant confounders of gender (female) and child mortality, worse psychological status at baseline, represented by reported depression, anxiety, and acute stress symptoms, was associated with more severe depression and anxiety at 3 months. Also, a better family relationship at baseline was associated with lower depression and anxiety at 3 months.
CONCLUSION: We suggest a need to screen family members of children admitted to the ICU with validated scales and intervening with those at high risk of depression and anxiety.
CONTEXT: Family caregivers (FCGs) of hospice cancer patients face significant challenges related to pain management. Addressing many of these challenges requires effective communication between FCGs and hospice nurses, yet little empirical evidence exists on the nature of communication about pain management between hospice nurses and FCGs.
OBJECTIVES: We identified ways in which FCGs of hospice cancer patients communicated their pain management challenges to nurses during home visits and explored nurses' responses when pain management concerns were raised.
METHODS: Using secondary data from audio recordings of hospice nurses' home visits, a deductive content analysis was conducted. We coded caregivers' pain management challenges and immediate nurses' responses to these challenges.
RESULTS: From 63 hospice nurse visits, 101 statements describing caregivers' pain management challenges were identified. Thirty percent of these statements pertained to communication and teamwork issues. Twenty-seven percent concerned caregivers' medication skills and knowledge. In 52% of the cases, nurses responded to caregivers' pain management challenges with a validating statement. They provided information in 42% of the cases. Nurses did not address 14% of the statements made by caregivers reflecting pain management challenges.
CONCLUSION: To optimize hospice patients' comfort and reduce caregivers' anxiety and burden related to pain management, hospice nurses need to assess and address caregivers' pain management challenges during home visits. Communication and educational tools designed to reduce caregivers' barriers to pain management would likely improve clinical practice and both patient- and caregiver-related outcomes.
BACKGROUND: Family caregivers encounter many barriers to managing patients' pain in the home hospice setting. However, there are limited clinically applicable resources for hospice providers to help family caregivers identify and address these barriers.
AIM: To develop a pain management manual for hospice providers to support family caregivers and conduct a preliminary providers' evaluation of the manual.
DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: A pain management manual was developed and structured into 3 parts: (1) 5 common pain management case scenarios based on a secondary data analysis of a hospice clinical trial; (2) a list of suggested assessment questions and strategies for each case scenario was developed based on a caregiver framework; and (3) pain educational material was included from established clinical guidelines. The manual was vetted by 5 experts and then was evaluated by interviewing 25 hospice providers. Interview data were analyzed using thematic analysis.
RESULTS: The hospice providers found that the manual could potentially serve as a reference in their practice and be a source for their continuing education. They suggested enhancing the clarity of the case scenarios and adding additional strategies to the manual. Moreover, they suggested expanding the paper-based version and developing a web-based platform to deliver the content would maximize its utility.
CONCLUSIONS: The manual has the potential to be integrated into routine hospice care to improve the quality of pain management.