BACKGROUND: In increasingly multi-ethnic societies fostering cultural awareness and integration of immigrants is not only a political duty but also an obligation for social and healthcare systems. Importantly, cultural beliefs and needs strongly impact on the quality of life of cancer patients and may become even more crucial at the end of life. However, to date, ethnic and cultural aspects of palliative care are insufficiently researched.
METHODS: This qualitative study at the Medical University of Vienna included 21 staff members from different disciplines in oncology and palliative care working with patients with various cultural backgrounds at the end of life. Semi-structured interviews were performed to gain insights into specific aspects of palliative care that are important in the clinical encounter with terminally ill cancer patients with migrant backgrounds and their relatives.
RESULTS: Interviews revealed specific aspects of palliative care, which fell into four fundamental categories and were all perceived as beneficial in the clinical encounter with migrant clients: (A) structural and (B) personal conditions of the palliative care setting, (C) specific care and treatment intentions and (D) personnel requirements and attitudes.
CONCLUSION: This study revealed first insights into possibilities and prospects of transcultural palliative care for migrants and their relatives. The results might have important implications for the end of life care in this growing population.
PURPOSE: In a palliative care setting, the preservation of quality of life is of particular importance. Horticultural therapy (HT) is reported as an excellent way to improve physical as well as psychological well-being, reduce levels of anxiety and depression, and promote social interaction. The use of horticultural interventions in palliative care has not yet been explored. The aim of this study was to explore the effects of HT in patients and team members on a palliative care ward.
METHODS: This study was based on a qualitative methodology, comprising 20 semistructured interviews with 15 advanced cancer patients participating in HT and with 5 members of the palliative care team. Interviews were analyzed using NVivo 10 software based on thematic analysis.
RESULTS: The results revealed the following themes: (1) well-being, (2) variation of clinical routine, (3) creation, and (4) building relationships. Patients experienced positive stimulation through HT, were distracted from daily clinical routines, enjoyed creative work, and were able to build relationships with other patients. HT was also welcomed by the members of the palliative care team. Thirty-six percent of the patients did not meet the inclusion criteria, and 45% could not participate in the second or third HT session.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed that the availability of HT was highly appreciated by the patients as well as by the palliative care team. Nevertheless, the dropout rate was high, and therefore, it might be more feasible to integrate green spaces into palliative care wards.