OBJECTIVE: Practitioners are often reluctant to engage in conversations that acknowledge patient's health concerns. This can affect patient and family carer psychological well-being. The Attitude to Health Change scales, adapted from the validated Adult Attitude to Grief scale, may have potential to address the psychological impact of illness and facilitate conversations in palliative care. To explore how health and social care professionals experience using the Attitude to Health Change Scales within hospice settings.
METHODS: Qualitative focus groups with practitioners currently using the Attitude to Health Change scales in three UK hospices. Two researchers conducted the interviews, developed the thematic framework and independently coded the transcripts using a framework analysis approach.
RESULTS: Three focus groups (n = 21 practitioners). The scale was used to assess and reassess levels of vulnerability and resilience to identify the need for support and to facilitate structured in-depth conversations. Factors that influenced scale implementation included the following: practitioner personal comfort and training; patient and family carer willingness to engage with the scales and having a practitioner "champion" within the organisation.
CONCLUSION: This exploratory work has identified the potential value of the scales for assessment and to facilitate conversations. Further research needs to incorporate the views of patients and family carers.
BACKGROUND: Innovative service models to facilitate end-of-life care for older people may be required to enable and bolster networks of care. The aim of this study was to understand how and why a new charitably funded service model of end-of-life care impacts upon the lives of older people.
METHODS: A multiple exploratory qualitative case study research strategy. Cases were 3 sites providing a new end-oflife service model for older people. The services were provided in community settings, primarily providing support in peoples own homes. Study participants included the older people receiving the end-of-life care service, their informal carers, staff providing care within the service and other stakeholders. Data collection included individual interviews with older people and informal carers at 2 time points, focus group interviews with staff and local stakeholders, nonparticipant observation of meetings, and a final cross-case deliberative panel discussion workshop. Framework analysis facilitated analysis within and across cases.
RESULTS: Twenty-three service users and 5 informal carers participated in individual interviews across the cases. Two focus groups were held with an additional 12 participants, and 19 people attended the deliberative panel workshop. Important elements contributing to the experience and impacts of the service included organisation, where services felt they were 'outsiders,' the focus of the services and their flexible approach; and the impacts particularly in enriching relationships and improving mental health.
CONCLUSION: These end-of-life care service models operated in a space between the healthcare system and the person's life world. This meant there could be ambiguity around their services, where they occupied a liminal, but important, space. These services are potentially important to older people, but should not be overly constrained or they may lose the very flexibility that enables them to have impact.
District nurses are core providers of palliative care, yet little is known about the way that they provide care to people at home. This study aimed to investigate the role and practice of the district nurse in palliative care provision. This was an ethnographic study, with non-participant observation of district nurse-palliative care patient encounters, and post-observation interviews. District nurse teams from three geographical areas in northwest England participated. Data were analysed iteratively, facilitated by the use of NVivo, using techniques of constant comparison. Some 17 encounters were observed, with 23 post-observation interviews (11 with district nurses, 12 with patients/carers). Core themes were ‘planning for the future’ and ‘caring in the moment’. District nurses described how they provided and planned future care, but observations showed that this care focused on physical symptom management. District nurses engaged in friendly relationship building, which allows detailed management of symptomatology, but with little evidence of advance care planning.
BACKGROUND: Volunteers make a major contribution to palliative care but little is known specifically about hospital palliative care volunteers.
AIM: The aim of this study was to understand the role and experience of hospital palliative care volunteers.
DESIGN: Systematic review and narrative synthesis.
DATA SOURCES: CINAHL, Embase, Medline, PsycINFO, PubMed and three dissertation databases were searched from inception to June 2019. A forward and backward search of included papers in key journals was also undertaken. Records were independently assessed against inclusion criteria by authors. Included papers were assessed for quality, but none were excluded.
RESULTS: In total, 14 papers were included. Hospital palliative care volunteers were mostly female, aged above 40 years, and training varied considerably. Volunteers faced unique challenges in supporting dying patients due to the nature of hospital care, rapid patient turnover and the once-off nature of support. Volunteer roles were diverse, with some providing hands-on care, but most focused on 'being with' the dying patient. Volunteers were appreciated for providing psychosocial support, seen as complementary to, rather than replacing the work of health professionals. Given volunteers were often required to work across multiple wards, establishing positive work relationships with health professionals was challenging. Divergent views about whether the volunteer was part of or external to the team impacted volunteers' experience and perceptions of the value of their contribution.
CONCLUSION: Hospital palliative care volunteers face unique challenges in supporting terminally ill patients. Volunteer support in hospital settings is possible and appropriate, if sufficient support is available to mitigate the challenges associated with complex, high-acuity care.
Background: Research is important internationally, impacting on health service provision and patient benefit. Journals play an important dissemination role, but there may be geographical bias, potentially affecting access to evidence.
Aim: To understand if there is a relationship between the continent of journals and that of contributing authors.
Design: Bibliometric analysis of journal citation report data (June 2018). Odds ratio of association of an author being from region, region of journal publication, publication model and the number of papers.
Setting: Journals specialising in palliative care research, with an impact factor above the median impact factor for their most common indexing category.
Results: Five journals: three published in Europe (Palliative Medicine, BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care, and BMC Palliative Care) and two in North America (Journal of Pain and Symptom Management and Journal of Palliative Medicine). Authors were from 30+ countries, but mostly North America (54.18%) or Europe (27.94%). Preliminary sensitivity tests show that the odds of an author being from a North American institution increase 16.4 times (p < 0.01; 95% confidence interval: 12.9, 20.8) if the region of journal publication is North America. The odds of an author being from a European institution is 14.0 times (p < 0.01; 95% confidence interval: 10.9, 17.9) higher if the region of journal publication is Europe.
Conclusion: Publishers, editors and authors are concentrated in North America or Europe. North American authors are more present in North American journals and European authors in European journals. This polarised approach, if replicated across readerships, may lead to research waste, duplication, and be sub-optimal for healthcare development.
BACKGROUND: People of Black and minority ethnic heritage are more likely to die receiving life supporting measures and less likely to die at home. End-of-life care decision making often involves adult children as advance care planning is uncommon in these communities. Physicians report family distress as being a major factor in continuing with futile care.
AIM: To develop a deeper understanding of the perspectives of elders of Black and minority ethnic heritage and their children, about end-of-life conversations that take place within the family, using a meta-ethnographic approach.
DESIGN: Systematic interpretive exploration using the process of meta-ethnography was utilised.
DATA SOURCES: CINAHL, MEDLINE, PubMed and PsycINFO databases were searched. Inclusion criteria included studies published between 2005 and 2019 and studies of conversations between ethnic minority elders and family about end-of-life care. Citation snowballing was used to ensure all appropriate references were identified. A total of 13 studies met the inclusion criteria and required quality level using Critical Appraisal Skills Programme.
RESULTS: The following four storylines were constructed: 'My family will carry out everything for me; it is trust'; 'No Mum, don't talk like that'; 'I leave it in God's hands'; and 'Who's going to look after us?' The synthesis reflected the dichotomous balance of trust and burden avoidance that characterises the perspectives of Black and minority ethnic elders to end-of-life care planning with their children.
BACKGROUND: For children with life-shortening illness, achieving a "good death" can be a tacit goal. There is little understanding of how different stakeholders perceive what a "good death" might be.
OBJECTIVE: To review empirical literature to construct an understanding of a "good death" for children with life-shortening conditions.
DESIGN: An integrative review approach was followed. This involved searching across Embase, Web of Science, Medline, CINAHL, and PsycINFO (no date limits set), as well as identifying eligible studies tracking reference lists. Appraisal of shortlisted articles in full text was performed, followed by data extraction, synthesis, and interpretation.
RESULTS: Analysis of articles (n = 24) yielded a dynamic and layered narrative about a good death that revolved around three themes. (1) Level of needs: includes both practical support and aspirational goals such as “do everything.” (2) The composite experience: whether positive or negative adds to produce a sense of suffering. (3) Control (preservation and letting go): moving from maintaining status quo to acceptance of the child's death, the experience of which also contributes to suffering. Framed using a health care system perspective, a concept map that interprets a good death in children with life-shortening conditions is represented.
CONCLUSIONS: A single yet holistic understanding of a good death experienced in the "real world" is suggested. Pediatric health and social care providers, and even policy makers, can use this new understanding to conceive alternative approaches to enhance support to dying children and their families.
BACKGROUND: Seventy percent of people with advanced dementia live and die in care homes. Multisensory approaches, such as Namaste Care, have been developed to improve the quality of life and dying for people with advanced dementia but little is known about effectiveness or optimum delivery. The aim of this review was to develop an explanatory account of how the Namaste Care intervention might work, on what outcomes, and in what circumstances.
METHODS: This is a realist review involving scoping of the literature and stakeholder interviews to develop theoretical explanations of how interventions might work, systematic searches of the evidence to test and develop the theories, and their validation with a purposive sample of stakeholders. Twenty stakeholders - user/patient representatives, dementia care providers, care home staff, researchers -took part in interviews and/or workshops.
RESULTS: We included 85 papers. Eight focused on Namaste Care and the remainder on other types of sensory interventions such as music therapy or massage. We identified three context-mechanism-outcome configurations which together provide an explanatory account of what needs to be in place for Namaste Care to work for people living with advanced dementia. This includes: providing structured access to social and physical stimulation, equipping care home staff to cope effectively with complex behaviours and variable responses, and providing a framework for person-centred care. A key overarching theme concerned the importance of activities that enabled the development of moments of connection for people with advanced dementia.
CONCLUSIONS: This realist review provides a coherent account of how Namaste Care, and other multisensory interventions might work. It provides practitioners and researchers with a framework to judge the feasibility and likely success of Namaste Care in long term settings. Key for staff and residents is that the intervention triggers feelings of familiarity, reassurance, engagement and connection.
STUDY REGISTRATION: This study is registered as PROSPERO CRD42016047512.
Traditionally, family-focused care extends to parents and siblings of children with life-limiting conditions. Only a few studies have focused on the needs of grandparents, who play an important role in the families of children with illness and with life-limiting conditions, in particular. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used as the methodological framework for the study. Seven bereaved grandparents participated in this study. Semistructured, individual, face-to-face interviews were conducted. A number of contextual factors affected the experience of bereaved grandparents, including intergenerational bonds and perceived changes in role following the death of their grandchild. The primary motivation of grandparents stemmed from their role as a parent, not a grandparent. The breadth of pain experienced by grandparents was complicated by the multigenerational positions grandparents occupy within the family. Transition from before to after the death of a grandchild exacerbated the experience of pain. These findings about the unique footprint of grandparent grief suggest the development of family nursing practice to better understand and support grandparents during the illness of a grandchild, in addition to bereavement support.
AIM: To increase understanding of grandparental grief following the death of a grandchild from a life-limiting condition.
DESIGN: META-ETHNOGRAPHY: DATA SOURCES: Academic Search Complete (2015, updated 2018), CINHAL, Embase, psycINFO, PubMed and Web of Science, supplemented by manual search strategies.
REVIEW METHODS: Studies were appraised and synthesised using the principles of meta-ethnography.
FINDINGS: Three superordinate themes were identified: 'influence of the relationship with their grandchild', 'influence of the relationship with the grandchild's family' and 'pain'. The simultaneous, multi-generational position of grandparents meant individuals experience emotional pain from witnessing the experience of family members.
CONCLUSION: Many factors that contribute to the bereavement experience of grandparents are outside of their control. The roles, positions and support needs of grandparents need to be acknowledged to better meet their needs as parents, grandparents and individuals who have experienced a child death.
CONTEXT: Trends in symptoms and functional ability are known towards the end of life, but less is understood about quality of life, particularly prospectively following service referral.
OBJECTIVES: This study compares quality of life trajectories of people with and without cancer, referred to volunteer provided palliative care services.
METHODS: A secondary analysis of the ELSA trial (n = 85 people with cancer and n = 72 without cancer). Quality of life data (WHOQOL-BREF) were collected at baseline (referral), 4, 8 and 12 weeks. Socio-demographic data were collected at baseline. We specified a series of joint models to estimate differences on quality of life trajectories between groups adjusting for participants who die earlier in the study.
RESULTS: People with cancer had a significantly better quality of life at referral to the volunteer provided palliative care services than those with non-malignant disease despite similar demographic characteristics (Cohen d's=.37 to .45). More people with cancer died during the period of the study. We observed significant differences in quality of life physical and environmental domain trajectories between groups (b = -2.35, CI -4.49, -0.21, and b = -4.11, CI -6.45, -1.76). People with cancer experienced a greater decline in quality of life than those with non-malignant disease.
CONCLUSION: Referral triggers for those with and without cancer may be different. People with cancer can be expected to have a more rapid decline in quality of life from the point of service referral. This may indicate greater support needs, including from volunteer provided palliative care services.
Purpose: To explore the perspectives of people anticipated to be in their last year of life, family carers, volunteers and staff on the impacts of receiving a volunteer-provided befriending service. Patient participants received up to 12 weeks of a volunteer-provided befriending intervention. Typically, this involved one visit per week from a trained volunteer. Such services complement usual care and are hoped to enhance quality of life.
Methods: Multiple case study design (n = 8). Cases were end-of-life befriending services in home and community settings including UK-based hospices (n = 6), an acute hospital (n = 1) and a charity providing support to those with substance abuse issues (n = 1). Data collection incorporated qualitative thematic interviews, observation and documentary analysis. Framework analysis facilitated within and across case pattern matching.
Results: Eighty-four people participated across eight sites (cases), including patients (n = 23), carers (n = 3), volunteers (n = 24) and staff (n = 34). Interview data are reported here. Two main forms of input were described—‘being there’ and ‘doing for’. ‘Being there’ encapsulated the importance of companionship and the relational dynamic between volunteer and patient. ‘Doing for’ described the process of meeting social needs such as being able to leave the house with the volunteer. These had impacts on wellbeing with people describing feeling less lonely, isolated, depressed and/or anxious.
Conclusion: Impacts from volunteer befriending or neighbour services may be achieved through volunteers taking a more practical/goal-based orientation to their role and/or taking a more relational and emotional orientation. Training of volunteers must equip them to be aware of these differing elements of the role and sensitive to when they may create most impact.
Trial Registration: ISRCTN12929812
BACKGROUND: Effective recruitment to randomised controlled trials is critically important for a robust, trustworthy evidence base in palliative care. Many trials fail to achieve recruitment targets, but the reasons for this are poorly understood. Understanding barriers and facilitators is a critical step in designing optimal recruitment strategies.
AIM: To identify, explore and synthesise knowledge about recruitment barriers and facilitators in palliative care trials using the '6 Ps' of the 'Social Marketing Mix Framework'.
DESIGN: A systematic review with narrative synthesis.
DATA SOURCES: Medline, CINAHL, PsycINFO and Embase databases (from January 1990 to early October 2016) were searched. Papers included the following: interventional and qualitative studies addressing recruitment, palliative care randomised controlled trial papers or reports containing narrative observations about the barriers, facilitators or strategies to increase recruitment.
RESULTS: A total of 48 papers met the inclusion criteria. Uninterested participants (Product), burden of illness (Price) and 'identifying eligible participants' were barriers. Careful messaging and the use of scripts/role play (Promotion) were recommended. The need for intensive resources and gatekeeping by professionals were barriers while having research staff on-site and lead clinician support (Working with Partners) was advocated. Most evidence is based on researchers' own reports of experiences of recruiting to trials rather than independent evaluation.
CONCLUSION: The 'Social Marketing Mix Framework' can help guide researchers when planning and implementing their recruitment strategy but suggested strategies need to be tested within embedded clinical trials. The findings of this review are applicable to all palliative care research and not just randomised controlled trials.
Background: Inpatient, generalist social workers in discharge planning roles work alongside specialist palliative care social workers to care for patients, often resulting in two social workers being concurrently involved in the same patient's care. Previous studies identifying components of effective collaboration, which impacts patient outcomes, care efficiency, professional job satisfaction, and healthcare costs, were conducted with nurses and physicians but not social workers. This study explores ward social workers' perceptions of what facilitates or hinders collaboration with palliative care social workers.
Methods: Grounded theory was used to explore the research aim. In-depth qualitative interviews with masters trained ward social workers (n = 14) working in six hospitals located in the Midwest, United States were conducted between February 2014 and January 2015. A theoretical model of ward social workers' collaboration with palliative care social workers was developed.
Results: The emerging model of collaboration consists of: 1) trust, which is comprised of a) ability, b) benevolence, and c) integrity, 2) information sharing, and 3) role negotiation. Effective collaboration occurs when all elements of the model are present.
Conclusion: Collaboration is facilitated when ward social workers' perceptions of trust are high, pertinent information is communicated in a time-sensitive manner, and a flexible approach to roles is taken. The theoretical model of collaboration can inform organisational policy and social work clinical practice guidelines, and may be of use to other healthcare professionals, as improvements in collaboration among healthcare providers may have a positive impact on patient outcomes.
La littérature suggère que l'utilisation des services de soins palliatifs communautaires varie considérablement selon les différentes caractéristiques des patients. La plupart des études de la littérature décrit cette variabilité, mais n'explique pas pourquoi de telles différences existent. Explorer les processus sous-tendant l'admission plutôt que de décrire simplement les résultats d'admissions peut favoriser notre compréhension de cette variabilité. Le but de cet article était d'étudier les influences sur les décisions d'admission prises dans les services de soins palliatifs communautaires. Une stratégie d'étude de cas qualitative était adoptée, en étudiant trois groupements de soins primaires anglais. La collection de données utilisait des méthodes (entretiens, analyse d'observation et documentaire) provenant de perspectives multiples (incluant les professionnels de soins palliatifs généraux et spécialisés, les patients, les dirigeants et les commissaires). Deux influences majeures sur la trajectoire des professionnels de santé à décider une admission sont identifées. D'abord, leur perception de leur propre rôle dans la fourniture de soins palliatifs ; les professionnels autonomes prennent des jugements indépendants concernant les admissions, influencés par leur expertise, la charge de travail, la nature spéciale des soins palliatifs et la relation qu'ils développent avec les patients. Ensuite, leur perception concernant ceux à qui ils peuvent se référer ; les professionnels déclarent un besoin de connaître les services pour pouvoir s'y référer, et alors rendre un jugement complexe concernant les professionnels impliqués et ce qu'ils pourraient offrir au référent et au patient. Ces résultats indiquent que beaucoup plus de facteurs qu'une évaluation des besoins cliniques des patients affectent les admissions dans les services de soins palliatifs communautaires. Il semble que les facteurs personnels, inter-personnels et interprofessionnels ont la possibilité de concrétiser les pratiques d'admission. Les médecins devraient être plus explicites concernant les influences sur la prise de décision et les décideurs politiques devraient prendre en compte ces influences complexes sur les admissions plutôt que juste demander des changements.
[Traduction du résumé fourni par le producteur]
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