Background: Despite their importance, pediatric palliative care (PPC) services are still scantly diffused. In addition, eligibility criteria for PPC are quite complex. Consequently, clinicians require a tool that suggests how to refer patients with life-limiting diseases to the most appropriate service and how to properly allocate health care resources.
Objective: Recently, the Accertamento dei bisogni Clinico-Assistenziali Complessi in PEDiatria (ACCAPED) scale has been developed by a group of experts in PPC to evaluate the specific clinical needs of pediatric patients with a life-limiting disease. This study presents the validation of the ACCAPED scale.
Design: Validation of ACCAPED scale was pursued by means of description and analysis of clinical vignettes representing patients with challenging-to-evaluate needs who have to be referred to the most appropriate service (community care, general PPC, and specialized PPC). The evaluation of vignettes according to the clinical experience of the experts represented the gold standard against which the validity of the ACCAPED scale was tested by groups with different levels of experience (experts, pediatricians, and health care providers (HCPs) not involved in PPC).
Results: Results show a very high concordance between the evaluation of the vignettes through the ACCAPED scale and the evaluation by the clinical experience for experts in PPC and pediatricians. A less favorable grade of concordance has been recorded for HCPs not involved in PPC, suggesting that educational efforts to improve basic knowledge of PPC within the medical community are needed.
Conclusions: Overall, this study suggests that the ACCAPED scale is a useful tool to improve rationalization of resources and eligibility criteria for PPC.
PURPOSE: This study aimed to investigate the supportive care needs of family caregivers (FCs) of advanced cancer patients and their support service use at the beginning of specialist inpatient palliative care (SIPC), near the patient's death, and during bereavement.
METHODS: FCs reported their needs using the Family Inventory of Needs (FIN), along with their utilization of psychosocial and bereavement support services at the beginning (N = 232) and 6-9 months after SIPC (N = 160).
RESULTS: At the beginning of SIPC, mean of 16.9 of 20 needs were reported to be highly important, and 12.2 were reported to be met. At the time of the patient's death, 16.8 needs were highly important, and 13.8 were met. At both time points, the highest ranked need was related to information about changes in the patient's condition (100% vs. 99%), and the most frequently unmet need was related to feeling hope (73% vs. 71%). Multivariate linear regression analysis revealed a low education level to be consistently related to a greater number of highly important needs. Higher satisfaction with care and better social support was related to a greater number of met needs. Twenty-five percent of FCs had accessed at least one psychosocial support service prior to SIPC, and 30% had done so during bereavement. Among non-users of support services, > 75% indicated sufficient informal support as a barrier to service use.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings offer a useful guide for adequately addressing FCs' needs in an effort to optimize FC support. However, only a subgroup of the FCs used support services. Better information and provision of tailored services might improve FCs' situations in the future.
Background and Aims: Palliative care is an important area of intervention in neurodegenerative diseases. The aim of this study is to understand the relationship between Palliative Care Needs and Caregiver Burden among persons diagnosed with neurodegenerative diseases.
Methods: A cross-sectional study design was adopted to explore the research problem. A prospective sample of 120 participants (60 Patient Caregiver dyads) of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and Parkinson's disease (PD) were recruited for the study based on inclusion and exclusion criteria from a quaternary referral care centre for neurology in south India. Patients seeking care were recruited for the study consecutively. Palliative care outcome scale and Zarit Burden Interview scale were administered to understand the relationship.
Results: It was found that Palliative care outcomes score was positively correlated with caregiver burden (r = 0.597), showing that there is a bi-directional relationship between palliative care needs and caregiver burden.
Conclusion: Irrespective of the differences in illness characteristics, the study found that palliative care needs are high among chronic neurological conditions which requires a noncategorical psychosocial approach in ensuring care.
Background: Informal carers are essential in enabling discharge home from hospital at end of life and supporting palliative patients at home, but are often ill-prepared for the role. Carers’ support needs are rarely considered at discharge. If carers are less able to cope with home care, patient care may suffer and readmission may become more likely.
Aim: To investigate the implementation of an evidence-based Carer Support Needs Assessment Tool (CSNAT) intervention to support carers during hospital discharge at end of life.
Design: Longitudinal qualitative study with thematic analysis.
Setting/participants: One National Health Service Trust in England: 12 hospital practitioners, one hospital administrator and four community practitioners. We provided training in CSNAT intervention use and implementation. Practitioners delivered the intervention for 6 months. Data collection was conducted in three phases: (1) pre-implementation interviews exploring understandings, anticipated benefits and challenges of the intervention; (2) observations of team meetings and review of intervention procedures and (3) follow-up interviews exploring experiences of working with the intervention.
Results: Despite efforts from practitioners, implementation was challenging. Three main themes captured facilitators and barriers to implementation: (1) structure and focus within carer support; (2) the ‘right’ people to implement the intervention and (3) practical implementation challenges.
Conclusions: Structure and focus may facilitate implementation, but the dominance of outcomes measurement and performance metrics in health systems may powerfully frame perceptions of the intervention and implementation decisions. There is uncertainty over who is best-placed or responsible for supporting carers around hospital discharge, and challenges in connecting with carers prior to discharge.
Background: The worldwide need for palliative care is high, especially in mid- income countries like Ecuador, where the percentage of patients receiving such care is very small due to the scarcity of infrastructure and specialized personnel and to the unequal distribution in the country. The objective of this study is to explore the knowledge, attitudes and expectations related to palliative care of the physicians in Ecuador.
Methods: A qualitative study based on 28 semi-structured interviews, from March 2014 to November 2016, with physicians working in four cities in Ecuador recruited through the snowball technique. Thematic analysis was developed supported by the ATLAS.ti software.
Results: Five core themes were identified: (1) training, (2) health policy, (3) professionals’ activities, (4) health services and (5) development of palliative care in Ecuador.
Conclusions: Strategies are needed which intensify the training of medical professional in palliative care, as well as avail the human resources and materials for providing it.
Background: Fetal malformations are diagnosed prenatally in nearly 3% of pregnancies, and [about] 1.2% are major malformations. After prenatal diagnosis, it is imperative to consider families' values and to support their decision-making process. Prenatal palliative care is a growing field mainly based on family conferences. The prenatal care setting is unique and differs from postnatal and adult care. There are no descriptions of family conferences in prenatal palliative care. The descriptions of themes that emerge from the prenatal care conference charts may guide professionals in this delicate task, and help determine the causes of suffering and identify family values before the birth of the infant.
Aim: To perform a content analysis of medical records of family conferences and to describe the main themes observed during prenatal palliative care follow-up after the diagnosis of a life-limiting fetal condition.
Design: This is a retrospective study of medical records of family conferences from a perinatal palliative care group, the GAI group, between May 2015 and September 2016.
Setting/Participants: Families with estimated perinatal mortality >50% and eligibility for follow-up at our tertiary fetal medicine center were enrolled. We included women who participated in at least one family conference with the GAI group and who had given birth at the clinic or delivered at another center and returned for the postnatal family conference.
Results: Fifty women met the inclusion criteria. Five main themes and 18 categories emerged from the charts and are described in detail. A model of follow-up in prenatal palliative care is proposed based on the themes and categories identified.
onclusions: This analysis may guide health professionals who seek to better identify family needs and values and organize follow-up during prenatal palliative care.
As more people live and die in the community despite complex health needs and functional impairment, the need for hospice increases. We found high and increasing penetration of hospice in community-based residential settings, compared with hospice use in private residences and nursing homes.
Background: Family caregivers play an important role supporting their relatives with advanced progressive disease to live at home. There is limited research to understand family caregiver needs over time, particularly outside of high-income settings. The aim of this study was to explore family caregivers’ experiences of caring for a relative living with advanced progressive disease at home, and their perceptions of met and unmet care needs over time.
Methods: An ethnographic study comprising observations and interviews. A purposive sample of 10 family caregivers and 10 relatives was recruited within a rural area in the north of Portugal. Data were collected between 2014 and 16 using serial participant observations (n = 33) and in-depth interviews (n = 11). Thematic content analysis was used to analyse the data.
Results: Five overarching themes were yielded: (1) provision of care towards independence and prevention of complications; (2) perceived and (3) unknown caregiver needs; (4) caregivers’ physical and emotional impairments; and (5) balancing limited time. An imbalance towards any one of these aspects may lead to reduced capability and performance of the family caregiver, with increased risk of complications for their relative. However, with balance, family caregivers embraced their role over time.
Conclusions: These findings enhance understanding around the needs of family caregivers, which are optimally met when professionals and family caregivers work together with a collaborative approach over time. Patients and their families should be seen as equal partners. Family-focused care would enhance nursing practice in this context and this research can inform nursing training and educational programs.
L’objectif de l’étude est d’identifier les freins et les leviers à la mise en place de la démarche palliative en EHPAD. C’est une étude ancillaire. Nous avons mené une enquête qualitative par entretiens semi-directifs auprès de médecins coordonnateurs d’EHPAD en Lorraine. Le recueil de données a débuté en janvier 2018 et s’est achevé en juin 2018. Les verbatim ont été analysés par théorisation ancrée. Onze médecins coordonnateurs ont participé à notre enquête. L’analyse met en évidence des contraintes structurelles et conjoncturelles propres à l’EHPAD dont l’absence de permanence médicale et infirmière, les limites des moyens matériels et personnels, ainsi que la possibilité des EHPAD intra-hospitaliers de s’affranchir de ces contraintes. La sensibilisation et la formation des acteurs de la prise en soins ont été identifiées comme des leviers majeurs dans la prise en charge palliative. À l’inverse, le manque de formation est apparu comme un obstacle. L’intervention des équipes ressources hospitalisation à domicile et équipe mobile de soins palliatifs est décrite comme un appui primordial. L’analyse a montré que l’organisation et la coopération des différents acteurs est un enjeu majeur pour la mise en place de la démarche palliative. Les dispositifs de personne de confiance et directives anticipées sont mal utilisés et ne sont d’aucune aide à la démarche palliative dans les EHPAD. Ainsi, la majorité des freins identifiés par l’enquête sont les contraintes structurelles et le manque de formation. Le principal levier à développer semble être celui de la formation, aux soins palliatifs et à l’utilisation des différents outils crées pour contourner les contraintes structurelles.
BACKGROUND: Safeguarding the dignity of patients at the end of life is a key objective in palliative care practice in Denmark. The concept of dignity and how it influences a dying persons' quality of life is thus influential in end-of-life care at hospices. However, what is meant by dignity, how dignity is understood and practiced by healthcare professionals in Danish hospices, and whether this relates to the patients' understandings and needs concerning dignity remains unanswered.
AIM: The aim of this study was to explore and improve dignity in care through an action research study with patients and hospice staff at two different hospices in Denmark. This was done by exploring how patients and healthcare professionals expressed their understandings and needs concerning dignity and involving participants in the research process with the goal of improving dignity in care.
METHODS: An action research method with reflection-of-praxis and action-in-praxis was applied. It was combined with methods of semi-structured individual interviews with twelve patients, five staff and nine focus-group interviews with staff.
RESULTS: Three themes emerged from the analysis of data. The themes were as follows: (1) being understood, (2) contributing and (3) holistic care. Deeper analysis indicated that staff understandings of dignity mostly focused on preserving patients' autonomy, whereas patients expressed needs for relational and spiritual aspects of dignity. Staff were mostly concerned about preserving patients' autonomy when providing dignity in care, however, through the action-in-praxis they increased their awareness on their own praxis and patients' needs and understanding concerning dignity. The theoretical model on dignity presented in the study also worked as a map to guide staffs' reflections on dignity in praxis and facilitated a broader focus on supporting and caring for patients' dignity in care. We believe this study has improved dignity in care at the two hospices involved in the study.
BACKGROUND: Bereavement support is a key component of palliative care, with different types of support recommended according to need. Previous reviews have typically focused on specialised interventions and have not considered more generic forms of support, drawing on different research methodologies.
AIM: To review the quantitative and qualitative evidence on the effectiveness and impact of interventions and services providing support for adults bereaved through advanced illness.
DESIGN: A mixed-methods systematic review was conducted, with narrative synthesis of quantitative results and thematic synthesis of qualitative results. The review protocol is published in PROSPERO ( www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero , CRD42016043530).
DATA SOURCES: The databases MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL and Social Policy and Practice were searched from 1990 to March 2019. Studies were included which reported evaluation results of bereavement interventions, following screening by two independent researchers. Study quality was assessed using GATE checklists.
RESULTS: A total of 31 studies were included, reporting on bereavement support groups, psychological and counselling interventions and a mix of other forms of support. Improvements in study outcomes were commonly reported, but the quality of the quantitative evidence was generally poor or mixed. Three main impacts were identified in the qualitative evidence, which also varied in quality: 'loss and grief resolution', 'sense of mastery and moving ahead' and 'social support'.
CONCLUSION: Conclusions on effectiveness are limited by small sample sizes and heterogeneity in study populations, models of care and outcomes. The qualitative evidence suggests several cross-cutting benefits and helps explain the impact mechanisms and contextual factors that are integral to the support.
AIM: To synthesise qualitative studies of patients' families' experiences and perceptions of end-of-life care in the intensive care unit when life-sustaining treatments are withdrawn.
DESIGN: Qualitative meta-synthesis
DATA SOURCES: Comprehensive search of 18 electronic databases for qualitative studies published between January 2005 - February 2019.
REVIEW METHOD: Meta-aggregation.
RESULTS: Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria. A conceptual 'Model of Preparedness' was developed reflecting the elements of end-of-life care most valued by families: 'End-of-life communication'; 'Valued attributes of patient care'; 'Preparing the family'; 'Supporting the family' and; 'Bereavement care'.
CONCLUSION: A family-centred approach to end-of-life care that acknowledges the values and preferences of families in the intensive care unit is important. These families have unmet needs related to communication, support and bereavement care. Effective communication and support are central to preparedness and if these care components are in place, families can be better equipped to manage the death, their sadness, loss and grief. The findings suggest that health professionals may benefit from specialist end-of-life care education, to support families and guide the establishment of preparedness.
IMPACT: Understanding the role and characteristics of preparedness during end-of-life care will inform future practice in the intensive care unit and may improve family member satisfaction with care and recovery from loss. Nurses are optimally positioned to address the perceived shortfalls in end-of-life care. These findings have implications for health education, policies and standards for end-of-life care in the intensive care unit.
BACKGROUND: Cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease for children in the United States. It is imperative to optimize measures to support patients and families facing the end of a child's life. This study asked bereaved parents to reflect on their child's end-of-life care to identify which components of decision-making, supportive services, and communication were helpful, not helpful, or lacking.
METHODS: An anonymous survey about end-of-life experiences was sent to families of children treated at a single institution who died of a malignancy between 2010 and 2017.
RESULTS: Twenty-eight surveys were returned for a 30.8% response rate. Most of the bereaved parents (61%) reported a desire for shared decision-making; this was described by 52% of families at the end of their child's life. There was a statistically significant association between how well death went and whether the parental perception of actual decision-making aligned with desired decision-making (P = .002). Families did not utilize many of the supportive services that are available including psychology and psychiatry (only 22% used). Respondents felt that additional services would have been helpful.
CONCLUSIONS: Health care providers should strive to participate in decision-making models that align with the preferences of the patient and family and provide excellent communication. Additional resources to support families following the death of a child should be identified for families or developed and funded if a gap in available services is identified.
Background : Despite significant developments in palliative care in recent decades, we still find important differences in access to and delivery of care in rural Norway.
Objective : The aim of this study was to explore what healthcare professionals consider necessary to provide equality in care for palliative patients in rural areas.
Methods : A qualitative approach with focus group discussions and individual interviews with 52 health professionals was used, starting with 5 uniprofessional focus groups of general practitioners and nurses/cancer nurses, followed by 5 interprofessional groups and 6 individual interviews. Interview transcripts were analyzed thematically.
Results : We found local variations in organization, competence and access to palliative care, and challenging geographical conditions. It was essential to be proactive, flexible and willing to go the extra mile, but this may conceal the need for a stronger focus on competence and organization of palliative care. Access to written guidelines and practical tools was important, as was forming palliative teams for particular situations.
Conclusions : palliative care needs strengthening in rural areas, and increased competence for all healthcare professionals is vital to increase equality in care. Geographical conditions require locally adapted solutions. Access to guidelines and interprofessional collaboration are essential.
Implications for Practice : Rural palliative care needs in Norway are improving, as exemplified by at least 1 cancer nurse assigned to each local authority, and access to guidelines and palliative tools and interprofessional collaboration.
Purpose: Gliomas are primary brain tumors with a life-limiting course of disease, and the last weeks of life are often characterized by neurological deficits that affect communication and personality. End-of-life treatment in this patient group therefore requires specific approaches. To date, little data is available on patients’ and caregivers’ needs and experiences in the last phase of the disease.
Methods: In this observational study, relatives of patients treated at the University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland and deceased 2015–2017 due to glioma progression were contacted to complete a structured questionnaire assessing caregivers experience within the last weeks of the disease.
Results: The survey was sent to 120 relatives of deceased patients with a glioma (WHO grades II–IV) (median patient age: 62 years; 73.8% male). Forty-three questionnaires were returned (37.7%). Approximately half of the patients were taken care of at home in the last 4 weeks of the disease, mainly with the assistance of in-home nursing care, of which eventually 14 patients (63.6%) died at home. While caregivers reported high satisfaction with medical and nursing care, psychological support was rated average to poor on a 10-point scale. Free comment fields were used widely, revealing open questions and needs of the relatives.
Conclusions: This study illustrates the need for a more patient-centered end-of-life care including higher psychological support mechanisms, and a higher inclusion and consideration of relatives and caregivers into the care focus. Earlier discussion of end-of-life preferences could prevent hospitalizations in the last phase of life and could improve patients’ and caregivers’ quality of life.
Objective: This study aimed to clarify the experiences and hidden needs of older patients with advanced cancer, their families and their physicians in palliative chemotherapy decision-making.
Materials and Methods: We conducted in-depth qualitative individual interviews with content analysis. Patients who were diagnosed as having advanced cancer, were aged =70 years (n = 15, median [range] = 77 [70–82] years) and had volunteered to receive palliative chemotherapy within the past 6 months were enrolled. Their families and physicians were also interviewed.
Results: The following four themes were identified: (i) physician’s awareness of paternalism; (ii) readiness for communication of serious news; (iii) spiritual care need assessment and (iv) support as a team. The patients and families expected physicians to demonstrate paternalism in their decision-making because they were unconfident about their self-determination capability. Although the physicians were aware of this expectation, they encountered difficulties in recommending treatment and communicating with older patients. The patients had spiritual pain since the time of diagnosis. Psychological issues were rarely discussed during decision-making and treatment, triggering feelings of isolation in the patients and their families.
Conclusion: Older patients and their families expected a paternalistic approach by the physicians for palliative chemotherapy decision-making. The physicians found it difficult to offer treatment options because of older patient diversity and limitations in evidence-based strategies. Therefore multidisciplinary approaches and evidence-based decision support aids are warranted. Because older patients and their families often have unexpressed psychological burdens including unmet spiritual needs, medical professionals should provide psychological care from the time of diagnosis.
Background: despite being a terminal neurodegenerative disease, the role of palliative care is less recognised for motor neurone disease than for other life-limiting conditions. Understanding the experiences of, and need for, palliative care for patients and carers is key to configuring optimal policy and healthcare services.
Aim: To explore the experiences of, and need for, palliative care of people with motor neurone disease and their informal carers across the disease trajectory.
Design: A systematic review of qualitative research conducted using Thematic Synthesis – PROSPERO registration CRD42017075311.
Data Sources: four electronic databases were searched (MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Social Science Citation Index) using terms for motor neurone disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, palliative care, and qualitative research, from inception to November 2018. Included papers were data extracted and assessed for quality.
Results: A total of 41 papers were included, representing the experiences of 358 people with motor neurone disease and 369 caregivers. Analytical themes were developed detailing patients’ and carers’ experiences of living with motor neurone disease and of palliative care through its trajectory including response to diagnosis, maintaining control, decision-making during deterioration, engaging with professionals, planning for end-of-life care, bereavement.
Conclusion: The review identified a considerable literature exploring the care needs of people with motor neurone disease and their carers; however, descriptions of palliative care were associated with the last days of life. Across the disease trajectory, clear points were identified where palliative care input could enhance patient and carer experience of the disease, particularly at times of significant physical change.
BACKGROUND: A developing body of evidence has provided valuable insight into the experiences of caregivers of people with motor neuron disease; however, understandings of how best to support caregivers remain limited.
AIM: This study sought to understand concepts related to the motor neuron disease caregiver experience which could inform the development of supportive interventions.
DESIGN: A qualitative thematic analysis of a one-off semistructured interview with caregivers was undertaken.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: Caregivers of people with motor neuron disease were recruited from a progressive neurological diseases clinic in Melbourne, Australia.
RESULTS: 15 caregivers participated. Three key themes were identified: (1) The Thief: the experience of loss and grief across varied facets of life; (2) The Labyrinth: finding ways to address ever changing challenges as the disease progressed; (3) Defying fate: being resilient and hopeful as caregivers tried to make the most of the time remaining.
CONCLUSIONS: Caregivers are in need of more guidance and support to cope with experiences of loss and to adapt to changeable care giving duties associated with disease progression. Therapeutic interventions which target these experiences of loss and change are worth investigation.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ACTRN12615000120572, pre-results.
BACKGROUND: Despite recognition that palliative care is an essential component of any humanitarian response, serious illness-related suffering continues to be pervasive in these settings. There is very limited evidence about the need for palliative care and symptom relief to guide the implementation of programs to alleviate the burden of serious illness-related suffering in these settings. A basic package of essential medications and supplies can provide pain relief and palliative care; however, the practical availability of these items has not been assessed. This study aimed to describe the illness-related suffering and need for palliative care in Rohingya refugees and caregivers in Bangladesh.
METHODS AND FINDINGS: Between November 20 and 24, 2017, we conducted a cross-sectional study of individuals with serious health problems (n = 156, 53% male) and caregivers (n = 155, 69% female) living in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, using convenience sampling to recruit participants at the community level (i.e., going house to house to identify eligible individuals). The serious health problems, recent healthcare experiences, need for medications and medical supplies, and basic needs of participants were explored through interviews with trained Rohingya community members, using an interview guide that had been piloted with Rohingya individuals to ensure it reflected the specificities of their refugee experience and culture. The most common diagnoses were significant physical disabilities (n = 100, 64.1%), treatment-resistant tuberculosis (TB) (n = 32, 20.5%), cancer (n = 15, 9.6%), and HIV infection (n = 3, 1.9%). Many individuals with serious health problems were experiencing significant pain (62%, n = 96), and pain treatments were largely ineffective (70%, n = 58). The average age was 44.8 years (range 2-100 years) for those with serious health problems and 34.9 years (range 8-75 years) for caregivers. Caregivers reported providing an average of 13.8 hours of care per day. Sleep difficulties (87.1%, n = 108), lack of appetite (58.1%, n = 72), and lack of pleasure in life (53.2%, n = 66) were the most commonly reported problems related to the caregiving role. The main limitations of this study were the use of convenience sampling and closed-ended interview questioning.
CONCLUSIONS: In this study we found that many individuals with serious health problems experienced significant physical, emotional, and social suffering due to a lack of access to pain and symptom relief and other essential components of palliative care. Humanitarian responses should develop and incorporate palliative care and symptom relief strategies that address the needs of all people with serious illness-related suffering and their caregivers.