BACKGROUND: Caring for someone with dementia can be physically and emotionally difficult. Acting as a caregiver can make it difficult to access sources of support, particularly in the later stages of dementia. This paper reports the development and presents the targets (subject areas) and components of a prototype website to support family caregivers of a person with dementia towards the end of life.
METHODS: Adopting an iterative approach and co-production methods the development process consisted of four stages: Stage1-Synthesis of data: three sources of data (interviews, systematic review and theory) were synthesised using tabulation, to identify the targets of the prototype; Stage2-Identifying intervention targets and components: a research development group (health practitioners, a family caregiver and academic experts) met to discuss the development, using a modified nominal group process, refining the synthesis from stage 1; Stage3-Developing the intervention prototype: an outline of the prototype was developed based on stage 1 and 2; and Stage4-User testing: interviews with caregivers testing the prototype website.
RESULTS: Qualitative interviews with caregivers identified four targets for the intervention: 1) feeling prepared and equipped; 2) feeling connected and supported; 3) valuing themselves as a caregiver and as an individual; 4) maintaining control of the caring situation and being the coordinator of care. The systematic review provided evidence on how and what components could address these targets, including providing information, peer support, contact with professionals, and psychological support. Theory helped to narrow the focus within each of these targets. Active discussion with the research development group and end users provided an outline of the prototype website. The prototype website presented addresses these targets with written information, videos from other caregivers, and peer and professional support sections. The subject areas covered included expectations at the end of life, support with day-to-day caring, care planning, and communication.
CONCLUSIONS: This paper provides a detailed account of the development process of a prototype website for caregiver support. The transparent methodology and key lessons learnt from developing the prototype should help those who are developing similar interventions, across complex, progressive conditions and not just limited to dementia.
The paper is a first thorough examination of what happens to one’s emails on death. The paper demonstrates that some content of emails can be protected by copyright and transmitted on death accordingly. The paper then analyzes the contractual provisions of the main email providers, Google and Microsoft, in order to determine how these contracts, regulate the transmission of emails on death. The author finds that these provisions complicate the issues of property and transmission of digital assets and do not offer a meaningful control over the assets for their users. The paper adopts a novel focus introduced in the author’s earlier research, the idea of post-mortem privacy that is the right to privacy after death. This concept serves as an argument against the default transmission of emails on death without the deceased’s consent, whether through the laws of intestacy or by requiring the service providers to provide access to the deceased’s emails. Finally, the paper canvasses a solution which combines law and technology. It is argued that much more control should be placed in the hands of emails users. Post-mortem privacy, a potentially contested phenomenon, only accentuates the need to better account for the interests of the deceased, having in mind the volume of personal data and personal nature of emails. Therefore, an in-service solution is promoted, backed up by policy and legislation.
Online support groups are popular for peer support, particularly for uncommon or stigmatized topics including pregnancy and infant loss. We conducted a randomized, controlled, 6-week feasibility study of three groups: an anonymous BabyCenter.com loss support group, a closed Facebook loss group, or a control group. Intervention arm mothers were asked to sign on to their support sites for 6 weeks. Participants completed regular surveys, text message surveys after each log-in, and a final semistructured phone interview. Thirty women were randomized to each arm of the study. Women reported preference for anonymous groups and found it empowering to support others, although many noted an emotional cost to reading postings. Tracking usage online was a major issue despite multiple strategies to collect these data. This pilot demonstrated feasibility of a randomized trial for online perinatal support but noted a critical need for more reliable methods to track usage.
Background: The lack of consumer knowledge and misconception of services could impede requests for and acceptance of palliative care. YouTube has been widely used for health information dissemination.
Objective: To explore the availability and characteristics of palliative care educational videos on YouTube and determine how palliative care is portrayed in these videos.
Methods: Keyword search and snowball methods were used to identify palliative care videos on YouTube. A structured data collection protocol was developed to record characteristics of a video. Descriptive analysis was used to describe the video features; logistic regression was conducted to determine the association between video characteristics and number of views per day.
Results: A total of 833 videos were screened; 84 met criteria for analysis. The most prominent video styles were providing palliative care information (85%) and personal testimony (50%). One-third were uploaded by hospice/palliative care services or medical organizations, while another one-third by advocacy organizations. More than two-thirds mentioned “end-of-life” and 35% mentioned “hospice.” Physicians most frequently appeared and served as protagonists. Protagonists were primarily female (71.0%), aged 18–64 years (81.7%), and white (90.3%). Compared with videos uploaded by health care agencies, those uploaded by advocacy organizations had 6.41 times higher odds of having more than one view per day (p = 0.002).
Conclusion: Online videos may not provide accurate and appropriate information on palliative care. There is minimal ethnic diversity in terms of physician and family representation. More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of these videos in improving consumer knowledge of palliative care.
As digital outlets of expression become increasingly accessible, means of conveying grief and commemorating the deceased have migrated online. Online memorial websites such as UK-based Muchloved.com boasts thousands of Tributes created by the bereaved to remember the deceased. Many of these Tributes sketch out a rough picture of the person commemorated through text detailing their personal lives, professions, hobbies, and accomplishments, as well as photographs capturing intimate moments with family and community, and condolences contributed by family, friends, and community members. This article examines how stories of migration figure in this large pool of digital Tributes. We draw from Moncur and Kirk’s “emergent framework” for the study of digital memorials by analyzing 17 Tributes on MuchLoved.com, which commemorated individuals who, according to these Tributes, migrated from one nation to another. We find that the practices and conventions of memorial-writing to commemorate first-generation immigrants perpetuate narratives of exceptionality.
Journalism has taken on a new form in the age of new media, allowing anyone to not only report the news, but to provide visual proof of it, uncensored and freely available. When this visual proof began to allow people to see death in its entirety, various communities began to form to not just view these videos but to also ensure their availability and continuation. This essay is about those communities and how they operate.
BACKGROUND: A lack of public awareness of palliative care (PC) has been identified as one of the main barriers to appropriate PC access. Internet search query analysis is a novel methodology, which has been effectively used in surveillance of infectious diseases, and can be used to monitor public awareness of health-related topics.
OBJECTIVES: We aimed to demonstrate the utility of internet search query analysis to evaluate changes in public awareness of PC in the USA between 2005 and 2015.
METHODS: Google Trends provides a referenced score for the popularity of a search term, for defined regions over defined time periods. The popularity of the search term 'palliative care' was measured monthly between 1/1/2005 and 31/12/2015 in the USA and in the UK.
RESULTS: Results were analysed using independent t-tests and joinpoint analysis. The mean monthly popularity of the search term increased between 2008-2009 (p<0.001), 2011-2012 (p<0.001), 2013-2014 (p=0.004) and 2014-2015 (p=0.002) in the USA. Joinpoint analysis was used to evaluate the monthly percentage change (MPC) in the popularity of the search term. In the USA, the MPC increase was 0.6%/month (p<0.05); in the UK the MPC of 0.05% was non-significant.
DISCUSSION: Although internet search query surveillance is a novel methodology, it is freely accessible and has significant potential to monitor health-seeking behaviour among the public. PC is rapidly growing in the USA, and the rapidly increasing public awareness of PC as demonstrated in this study, in comparison with the UK, where PC is relatively well established is encouraging in increasingly ensuring appropriate PC access for all.
OBJECTIVE: To examine how Canadian newspapers portrayed physicians' role and medical assistance in dying (MAiD).
DESIGN: Qualitative textual analysis.
SETTING: Online and print articles from Canadian French and English newspapers.
PARTICIPANTS: 813 newspaper articles published from 1972 to 2016.
RESULTS: Key Canadian events defined five eras. From 1972 to 1990, newspapers portrayed physician's MAiD role as a social issue by reporting supportive public opinion polls and revealing it was already occurring in secret. From 1991 to 1995, newspapers discussed legal aspects of physicians' MAiD role including Rodriguez' Supreme Court of Canada appeal and Federal government Bills. From 1996 to 2004, journalists discussed professional aspects of physicians' MAiD role and the growing split between palliative care and physicians who supported MAiD. They also reported on court cases against Canadian physicians, Dr Kevorkian and suffering patients who could not receive MAiD. From 2005 to 2013, newspapers described political aspects including the tabling of MAiD legislation to change physicians' role. Lastly, from 2014 to 2016, newspapers again portrayed legal aspects of physicians' role as the Supreme Court of Canada was anticipated to legalise MAiD and the Québec government passed its own legislation. Remarkably, newspapers kept attention to MAiD over 44 years before it became legal. Articles generally reflected Canadians' acceptance of MAiD and physicians were typically portrayed as opposing it, but not all did.
CONCLUSIONS: Newspaper portrayals of physicians' MAiD role discussed public opinion, politicians' activities and professional and legal aspects. Portrayals followed the issue-attention cycle through three of five stages: 1) preproblem, 2) alarmed discovery and euphoric enthusiasm and 3) realising the cost of significant progress.
To better understand the role of technology in later-life planning among older lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) adults, we conducted focus groups to explore factors linked to diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. Twenty focus groups were facilitated across Canada with 93 participants aged 55 to 89. Constant comparative analysis yielded four categories: (a) fear, (b) individual benefits, (d) social elements, and (d) contextual elements. Fear related to technology and fear of end-of-life planning. Individual benefits referred to technology as a platform for developing LGBT identities and as a source of information for later-life planning. Social elements were establishment and maintenance of personal relationships and social support networks. Contextual elements referred to physical and situational barriers to technology use that limited access and usability. These findings can inform technological practice and services to enhance later-life planning.
It is important for the health care community to understand the impact of a child's death on parent functioning. Yet involving bereaved parents in research that enquires about such a stressful time in their life can potentially bring harm to them. The current study examines the perceived benefit and burden of parents participating in a survey exploring their perceptions of their child's end-of-life (EoL) and bereavement experiences. Parents whose child died from cancer or complications of cancer treatment were invited to complete a survey developed by pediatric psychosocial oncology professionals with input from bereaved parent advocates through a closed social media (Facebook) group. One hundred seventy-eight parents of children aged 0 to 37 years at death (median age 12 years) participated. More than three quarters of parents reported at least "a little benefit" and half reported at least "a little burden" associated with participation. Less burden was perceived by younger and female parents, parents of younger children, those who had felt prepared to meet their children's emotional needs at EoL, and those not using bereavement services at the time of the survey. With the increasing use of social media as a source for bereaved parents to receive and provide emotional support, it is important for clinicians and researchers to understand the perceived benefits and risks of participating in research about EoL experiences via online recruitment. Our findings suggest that the benefit and burden of online research participation may vary for bereaved parents, but further research is necessary to replicate the findings and explore ways to optimize the use of this approach.
PURPOSE: Siblings of children and young people diagnosed with cancer are commonly reluctant to talk about their experiences due to the circumstances of the illness situation. This article aims to bring voice to experience and inform practice by investigating what and how three young sisters narrate about their illness experiences in personal blogs on the Internet.
METHODS: A narrative methodology for the analysis of life storytelling was applied primarily to investigate the sister's coping strategies and support needs.
RESULTS: The results show how the sisters constructed their own space for narration, with the main aims of expressing their feelings about the illness and seeking social support. The telling of their experiences along with encouraging comments from a supportive audience enabled a change in position from feeling neglected and silenced to being a recognized agent and caring sister. In addition, through their narrative coping the sisters went from powerless to powerful in their position in relation to cancer.
CONCLUSION: The results highlight the need for siblings to be able to narrate experience in a supportive context, where the processing of their relationship with the ill sister/brother should be understood as an important element of their coping with cancer and death.
BACKGROUND: While several internet interventions target severe prolonged grief symptoms after bereavement, no randomised controlled trial investigated interventions for prolonged grief after separation/divorce.
METHODS: This randomised controlled trial aimed to evaluate the efficacy of a guided internet-based self-help intervention for prolonged grief symptoms after spousal bereavement or separation/divorce compared to a wait-list control group. Furthermore, we analysed whether the intervention was also efficacious for participants with milder grief symptoms.
RESULTS: A total of 110 participants were mainly recruited by newspaper articles. Average age was 51 years, 77% were separated/divorced, 79% were female. Dropout rate was 11%. Compared to the control group, the intervention resulted in significant reductions in grief (d = 0.81), depression (d = 0.59), psychopathological distress (d = 0.39) (primary outcomes), embitterment (d = 0.37), loneliness (d = 0.37) and an increase in life satisfaction (d = -0.41) (secondary outcomes). These gains were maintained over three months. Improvements were similar among widowed and separated/divorced participants as well as among participants with low, medium or high levels of grief at baseline.
LIMITATIONS: Limitations include the self-selective sample and a rather small number of widowed participants.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings indicate that an internet intervention based on models for coping with grief after bereavement was not only beneficial for widowed but also separated or divorced participants. Furthermore, also participants with lower levels of grief at baseline benefitted from the intervention. This corroborates that indicated prevention efforts for grief are efficacious.
Advanced care planning (ACP) and end-of-life discussions are especially difficult among persons living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) as a result of patients' lack of trust in family and providers, HIV-related stigma, misunderstood spirituality concerns, social isolation, and other factors. Previous research has demonstrated that relatively few persons living with HIV/AIDS engage in ACP, yet developing culturally sensitive methods of ACP is imperative. One such method is digital storytelling, a video narrative that can be used to share ideas or aspects of a life story.
The aim of this study was to examine perspectives from providers and persons living with HIV/AIDS about the acceptability, benefits, and technological challenges of and barriers to using digital storytelling for ACP. A qualitative descriptive design was employed using focus groups of 21 participants in South Central Appalachia. Transcribed data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Findings revealed patient and provider ideas about ACP, factors related to digital story acceptability, stigma against persons living with HIV/AIDS, and concern for the legality of ACPs expressed in digital story format. Future research should focus on the process of creating digital stories as an intervention to improve ACP in this unique aggregate.
Today every aspect of our life is published and shared online, including grief. The virtual cemeteries and social networks' use could be considered as a new modern mortuary ritual. Starting from the keyword stillbirth, 50 videos published on YouTube since 2008 have been analyzed qualitatively. The videos, 70% published by the mother, with an average length of 5.52 minutes, a mean of 2,429,576 views and 2,563 of comments, follow a sort of script: the second part with black and white photos, background music, and religious references. Could the continuous access to the child's technological grave encourage a complicated grief or be a support, given by the interaction with users, limiting the sense of isolation. The parent shows his or her own conceptions about death and, as a modern baptism, presents the child to the whole society. Videos keep child's memory alive and fuel a process of personalization and tenderness in the user.
BACKGROUND: Women who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) less often than men. Understanding public perceptions of why this occurs is a necessary first step toward equitable application of this potentially life-saving intervention.
METHODS: We conducted a national survey of members of the public using Mechanical Turk, Amazon’s crowdsourcing platform, to determine reasons why women might receive bystander CPR less often than men. Eligible participants were adults (=18 years) located in the United States. Responses were excluded if the participant was not able to define CPR correctly. Participants were asked to answer the following free-text question: “Do you have any ideas on why women may be less likely to receive CPR than men when they collapse in public?” Descriptive statistics were used to define the cohort. The free-text response was coded using open coding, and major themes were identified via classical content analysis.
RESULTS: In total, 548 subjects were surveyed. Mean age was 38.8 years, and 49.8% were female. Participants were geographically distributed as follows: 18.5% West, 9.2% Southwest, 22.0% Midwest, 27.5% Southeast, and 22.9% Northeast. After analysis, 3 major themes were detected for why the public perceives that women receive less bystander CPR. They include the following: (1) sexualization of women's bodies; (2) women are weak and frail and therefore prone to injury; and (3) misperceptions about women in acute medical distress. Overall, 41.9% (227) were trained in CPR while 4.4% reported having provided CPR in a medical emergency.
CONCLUSIONS: Members of the general public perceive fears about inappropriate touching, accusations of sexual assault, and fear of causing injury as inhibiting bystander CPR for women. Educational and policy efforts to address these perceptions may reduce the sex differences in the application of bystander CPR.
BACKGROUND: Little is understood about the different ways patients complete advance directives (ADs), which is most commonly through lawyers and increasingly using websites.
OBJECTIVE: To understand patients' perspectives on different approaches to facilitating AD completion, the value of legal regulation of ADs, and the use of a web-based platform to create an AD.
DESIGN: Semi-structured interviews with patients.
SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: We purposively sampled 25 patients at least 70 years of age or with a chronic disease from 2 internal medicine clinics.
MEASUREMENTS: Interviews focused on experiences and perspectives creating ADs, including facilitation by lawyers, health-care professionals, and websites. Feedback on a website prototype was also obtained. Responses were analyzed with modified grounded theory until thematic saturation was achieved.
RESULTS: Although a majority of participants with ADs had used lawyers, participants were ambivalent about the benefits of lawyer facilitation. Most valued both the medical perspective of a health-care professional and a lawyer's attention to legal requirements for AD validity. Participants had positive impressions of the web platform, but some were concerned about privacy with online storage. Trust emerged as an overarching theme, and participants valued legal regulation of ADs to ensure document authenticity and delivery of preference-concordant care.
CONCLUSION: Efforts to improve documentation of care planning need to address the disparate methods by which participants complete ADs. Creating options that combine the perceived benefits of a legal approach with greater health professional involvement could appeal to participants. Privacy concerns may limit web use by some patients.
Terminal secretions is a common symptom seen in hospice patients. Antimuscarinic drugs are commonly used to treat this symptom despite a lack of supporting data. Wide variability in cost exists among these treatments. Hospice program data were assessed to identify high-use and high-cost medications. An educational intervention (EI) was developed to target one such medication, transdermal scopolamine. The EI focused on efficacy, safety, and actual cost (by unit and total expenditure) for each possible treatment of terminal secretions. Following the EI, drug utilization data was re-evaluated. Prior to the deployment of the EI, total monthly hospice drug costs averaged $91,405 (SD 1,444) with an average drug cost per patient per day of $11.42 (SD 0.54). Monthly costs of drugs frequently employed to treat terminal secretions averaged $7,187.67 (SD 2,253) pre-intervention. Following the EI, monthly drug costs decreased 22.5%, average daily patient drug costs decreased 11.1%, and total anti-secretion costs decreased 28.5% after adjusting for difference in census. Education regarding the use and cost of medications to treat symptoms at end-of-life in hospice patients can be an intervention used to lead to significant cost savings to hospice organizations while maintaining appropriate symptom management for patients. Future interventions to target additional high-cost medications are warranted.