Background: Motor neurone disease is a terminal neurological illness with no known cure. It is often referred to as a ‘family disease’ with the ripples causing additional implications for children and young people. As such, little is known about how to best support young people (24 years old and under) (WHO, 2019)) when a family member dies from the disease. One potential solution is through use of a digital legacy whereby videos which document a person’s life, memories and achievements are purposefully recorded by an adult during their illness. However, due to this being an emerging area of research, little is known about whether a digital legacy may support or hinder bereavement for young people affected by the disease.
Aim: To investigate healthcare professionals, specialists and experts views, perceptions and experiences of using digital legacies with bereaved young people due to motor neurone disease.
Design: A qualitative study underpinned by interpretative phenomenological analysis.
Setting/participants: Twenty healthcare professionals, specialists and experts were recruited using a maximum purposive sampling method. Open-ended interviews were conducted in participants’ place of work either over the telephone or by the lead researcher. Ethical approval was granted by a university ethics committee and Health Research Authority (HRA).
Findings: Two key overarching themes were identified from the data: perceived benefit and value for bereaved young people using a digital legacy and challenges and barriers for bereaved young people using a digital legacy.
Conclusion: A number of potential challenges and considerations were identified. However, the use of a digital legacy was perceived to be a feasible and valuable method of support for young people bereaved as a result of motor neurone disease.
Le cancer du col utérin est fréquent chez les jeunes femmes en zone rurale et vu souvent au stade tardif. La présente étude avait pour objectif de questionner les facteurs responsables des souffrances physiques et psychologiques de ces patients en fin de vie. La question de la fin de vie qui fait référence ici aux soins palliatifs reste une des perspectives non négligeable de sa prise en charge. Il s'agit d'une étude qualitative et rétrospective à visée descriptive et concerne une série de trois cas de cancer du col de l'utérus suivis à l'hôpital Saint Vincent de Paul au cours de l'année 2017. Les données ont été collectées à partir des dossiers de soins des patientes. Ces données ont été analysées selon la méthode de création et gestion de code-books et plus particulièrement le codage par catégories ontologiques. Les résultats de ce travail nous ont permis d'accuser les facteurs tels que le retard de la suspicion et du diagnostic du cancer du col utérin, la difficulté d'accès aux soins holistiques ainsi que la précarité sociale comme prétexte des souffrances physiques et psychologiques que connaissent ces patientes reçues dans le milieu éloigné des métropoles en fin de vie. Cette étude permet d'insister sur les approches de soins palliatifs comme composante incontournable de la prise en charge en milieu rural.
INTRODUCTION: In Canada, deceased organ donation provides over 80% of transplanted organs. At the time of death, families, friends or others assume responsibility as substitute decision-makers (SDMs) to consent to organ donation. Despite their central role in this process, little is known about what barriers, enablers and beliefs influence decision-making among SDMs. This study aims to explore the experiences and perspectives of SDMs involved in making decisions around the withdrawal of life-sustaining therapies, end-of-life care and deceased organ donation.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: SDMs of 60 patients admitted to intensive care units will be enrolled for this study. Ten hospitals across five provinces in Canada in a prospective multicentre qualitative cohort study. We will conduct semistructured telephone interviews in English or French with SDMs between 6 and 8 weeks after the patient's death. Our sampling frame will stratify SDMs into three groups: SDMs who were not approached for organ donation; SDMs who were approached and consented to donate and SDMs who were approached but did not consent to donate. We will use two complementary theoretical frameworks-the Common-Sense Self-Regulation Model and the Theoretical Domains Framework- to inform our interview guide. Interview data will be analysed using deductive directed content analysis and inductive thematic analysis.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study has been approved by the Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal Research Ethics Board. The findings from this study will help identify key factors affecting substitute decision-making in deceased organ donation, reasons for non-consent and barriers to achieve congruency between SDM and patient wishes. Ultimately, these data will contribute to the development and evaluation of tools and training for healthcare providers to support SDMs in making decisions about organ donation.
A death with dignity is influenced by the quality of care offered to patients. The objective of this study was to identify, through the firsthand experiences and insights of family caregivers, the key elements related to the care offered to patients with a terminal illness at the end of life. This multicenter qualitative study was based on the paradigm of hermeneutic phenomenology. Participants were relatives of patients with terminal illness who had been identified as primary caregivers. Five discussion groups and 41 in-depth interviews were organized with a total of 81 participants. The content of the interviews was analyzed based on the methods developed by Giorgi (J Phenom Psychol 1997;28(2):235-260). The results indicate the existence of 3 dimensions: the caregiver’s suffering, compassion satisfaction with the care provided, and the support of health care professionals. Understanding the experiences of family members providing end-of-life care allows improved care and provides dignity in death. Health and social systems must provide comprehensive assistance covering the different aspects of needed care. Health professionals occupy a privileged position in the care of these patients and their families.
Some of the most ethically challenging and emotionally demanding aspects of nursing occur in caring for patients and their family at the end of life. The aims of this study were to examine the views of acute care nurses caring for patients during transition to comfort care, to describe the personal impact on nurses, and to identify nurses’ strategies for self-support and development of competence. Using a qualitative descriptive approach, we analyzed data from 26 semistructured interviews.
Nurses experienced moral distress in situations of continuing treatment when a cure was unlikely. In managing symptoms for patients, they struggled to foster an often-tenuous balance of patient comfort and calm without oversedation. They struggled to manage the competing demands of a workload including patients receiving curative care juxtaposed with those focused on comfort care. Nurses reflected on their fears as new nurses caring for end-of-life patients, the inadequacy of their preparation for this role, and their distress when the care provided felt inadequate to them.
Nurses navigated challenges through support from nurse colleagues and effective leaders. They appealed to administrators to attend to care concerns arising from time-intensive nature of care. Mentoring and education facilitated assimilation to comfort-care nursing for novice nurses.
Background: Debate about appropriate and ethically acceptable end-of-life choices is ongoing, which includes discussion about the legalization of voluntary assisted dying. Given health professionals’ role in caring for patients at the end life, their stance towards assisting a person with dying can have implications for policy development and implementation in jurisdictions where law changes are being considered.
Aim: To explore end-of-life care professionals’ attitudes towards voluntary assisted dying 6 months prior to vote on legalization.
Design: Qualitative study using textual data collected through semi-structured interviews. Purposive sampling strategy used to collect a broad representation of perspectives. Audio-recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim and subjected to qualitative descriptive analysis techniques.
Participants: A total of 16 health professionals with experience in caring for people with life-limiting illness.
Results: Participants reported two overarching positions grounded in differing moral philosophies with compelling arguments both for and against legalization of voluntary assisted dying. A third and common line of argument emerged from areas of shared concern and uncertainty about the practical consequences of introducing voluntary assisted dying. While a diversity of opinion was evident, all participants advocated for more public education and funding into end-of-life care services to make high-quality care equitable and widely available.
Conclusion: Common dedication to reducing suffering and facilitating good dying experiences exists among experts despite their divergent views on voluntary assisted dying. Ongoing engagement with stakeholders is needed for practical resolution in the interest of developing health policy for best patient care.
Background: Awareness of disease status has been identified as a factor in the treatment decision-making process. Women with recurrent ovarian cancer are facing the challenge of making treatment decisions throughout the disease trajectory. It is not understood how women with ovarian cancer perceive their disease and subsequently make treatment decisions.
Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand the lived experience of women with recurrent ovarian cancer, how they understood their disease and made their treatment decisions.
Methods: A qualitative design with a descriptive phenomenological method was used to conduct 2 in-depth interviews with 12 women (n = 24 interviews). Each interview was ~60 minutes and was digitally recorded and professionally transcribed. Data collection focused on patients' understanding of their disease and how patients participated in treatment decisions. A modified version of Colaizzi's method of phenomenological reduction guided data analysis.
Results: Three themes emerged to describe the phenomenon of being aware of disease status: (1) perceiving recurrent ovarian cancer as a chronic illness, (2) perceived inability to make treatment decisions, and (3) enduring emotional distress.
Conclusions and Implications: This study revealed how 12 women conceptualized recurrent ovarian cancer as a chronic disease and their perceived inability to make treatment decisions because of lack of information and professional qualifications, resulting in enduring emotional distress. Future research should replicate the study to confirm the persistence of the themes for racially, ethnically, and religiously diverse patient samples and to improve understanding of awareness of disease status and decision-making processes of patients.
Background: The significance of advance care planning in dementia is widely acknowledged. Despite the suggestion that younger people with dementia and their family might have distinct needs and preferences in this area, studies on advance care planning in young-onset dementia are absent.
Aim: We aim to explore (1) whether family caregivers had already engaged in advance care planning with patients and/ or professionals and the accompanying reasons and (2) family caregivers' preferences for how to ideally engage in the process with patients, family and professionals.
Design: A qualitative study was conducted: we analysed semi-structured interviews (n = 15) through the method of constant comparative analysis.
Setting/participants: We included Flemish family caregivers of persons with young-onset dementia.
Results: Plans for the future typically concerned non-medical affairs. Participants' limited engagement in advance care planning was clarified through several reasons: not considering it useful, hindering patient behaviour, adopting a day-to-day attitude, caregivers emotionally protecting themselves and uncertainty about patients' cognitive competence. However, endorsement for advance care planning showed from respondent' preferences that it should be initiated timely, by a third party, and emphasize patients' remaining capacities. Finally, the need for information and high-quality care emerged.
onclusion: A gap of knowledge, of information and in care intertwiningly hinder advance care planning. In young-onset dementia, engaging in advance care planning is not an option equally accessible as not doing so. Policy makers, institutions and professionals could reflect on their responsibility in providing these patients and caregivers an actual choice to engage in advance care planning or not.
BACKGROUND: The length of stay in nursing homes before death in Sweden has significantly decreased, and nearly one-third of people die within 6 weeks of entering a nursing home. Support for the next of kin is one of the cornerstones of palliative care, but the principles are not always adhered to as recommended when caring for the elderly, which can affect the quality of life of their next of kin. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of quality of life among the next of kin of older persons who live in nursing homes before an educational intervention of palliative care.
METHODS: This is an explorative qualitative interview study with 40 next of kin using qualitative content analysis performed at baseline before the implementation of the principles of palliative care in nursing homes.
RESULTS: The next of kin's experiences of quality of life were expressed in three themes: Orientation to the new life situation, Challenges in their relationship and the Significance of the quality of care in the nursing home. The next of kin experienced a sense of relief, although the older person was constantly on their minds, and they could feel lonely. The difference in the couple's life situations was experienced as burdensome by the next of kin. The challenges in the relationship were described as stressful, related to a guilty conscience and the older person's vulnerability. The nursing home could be a context facilitating good relations. The perceptions of quality of care in terms of person-centredness affected the quality of life of the next of kin.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings show that four factors are decisive for the quality of life of next of kin: the relationships within the family, the degree of relief that nursing home care entails as compared to home care, the older person's health status and whether the care is person-centred. Increased knowledge and education regarding palliative care in nursing homes are needed to better meet the needs of next of kin. Implementation of palliative care should take into account the need for support for next of kin.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT02708498, 15 March 2016.
OBJECTIVE: This is the first known study which examines the evolutionary nature of spousal interaction patterns among Asian parents of children with chronic life-threatening illness, from the time of providing care to their child through bereavement. This study is informed by earlier findings that when a child is diagnosed with a chronic life-threatening illness, parents are faced with multiple stressors, leaving them with little time to invest in their spousal relationship.
PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: A constructivist-phenomenological research paradigm was adopted and meaning-oriented interviews were conducted with 20 parental units (i.e., 6 couples, 12 lone mothers and 2 lone fathers) of Chinese, Malay and Indian ethnicities who lost their child to chronic life-threatening illness in Singapore.
RESULTS: Qualitative thematic analysis of the data revealed four themes, which describe the evolutionary nature of spousal interaction patterns among Asian parents of children with chronic life-threatening illness, from caregiving through bereavement. Findings reveal participants' tendency to concentrate on pragmatic, solution-focused communication during the period of caregiving (pragmatic interaction), avoid discussion about their emotional pain as a means of protecting their spouse (partner-oriented self-regulation), respect and acknowledge their spouse's personal coping strategies (empathic responding) and show greater appreciation and emotional expression within the spousal relationship after their child's death (affective appreciation).
CONCLUSION: Engaging in pragmatic discussions, deferring emotion-focused and potentially distressing conversations, and acknowledging their spouse's need for personal space are important coping strategies for Asian couples facing their child's chronic life-threatening illness and in the immediate aftermath of his/her death. Bereaved couples who have processed their grief individually feel ready to share their reflections with their spouse, deriving meaning and greater relational closeness through such disclosure. These findings are discussed from a cultural lens, with recommendations for healthcare professionals working with Asian parents of children with chronic life-threatening illness.
Objective: The aim of this study was to identify the challenges anticipated by clinical staff in two Melbourne health services in relation to the legalisation of voluntary assisted dying in Victoria, Australia.
Methods: A qualitative approach was used to investigate perceived challenges for clinicians. Data were collected after the law had passed but before the start date for voluntary assisted dying in Victoria. This work is part of a larger mixed-methods anonymous online survey about Victorian clinicians' views on voluntary assisted dying. Five open-ended questions were included in order to gather text data from a large number of clinicians in diverse roles. Participants included medical, nursing and allied health staff from two services, one a metropolitan tertiary referral health service (Service 1) and the other a major metropolitan health service (Service 2). The data were analysed thematically using qualitative description.
Results: In all, 1086 staff provided responses to one or more qualitative questions: 774 from Service 1 and 312 from Service 2. Clinicians anticipated a range of challenges, which included burdens for staff, such as emotional toll, workload and increased conflict with colleagues, patients and families. Challenges regarding organisational culture, the logistics of delivering voluntary assisted dying under the specific Victorian law and how voluntary assisted dying would fit within the hospital's overall work were also raised.
Conclusions: The legalisation of voluntary assisted dying is anticipated to create a range of challenges for all types of clinicians in the hospital setting. Clinicians identified challenges both at the individual and system levels.What is known about the topic? Voluntary assisted dying became legal in Victoria on 19 June 2019 under the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017. However there has been little Victorian data to inform implementation.What does this paper add? Victorian hospital clinicians anticipate challenges at the individual and system levels, and across all clinical disciplines. These challenges include increased conflict, emotional burden and workload. Clinicians report concerns about organisational culture, the logistics of delivering voluntary assisted dying under the specific Victorian law and effects on hospitals' overall work. What are the implications for practitioners? Careful attention to the breadth of staff affected, alongside appropriate resourcing, will be needed to support clinicians in the context of this legislative change.
BACKGROUND: Pain and opioid management are core ambulatory palliative care skills. Existing literature on how to manage opioid misuse/use disorder excludes patients found in palliative care settings, such as individuals with serious illness or those at the end of life.
OBJECTIVES: We conducted an exploratory study to: (1) Identify the challenges palliative care clinicians face when prescribing opioids in ambulatory settings and (2) explore factors that affect opioid decision-making.
METHODS: We recruited palliative care clinicians who prescribe opioids in ambulatory settings, which included open-ended questions and was conducted online. Results were analyzed qualitatively using a content analysis-based approach.
RESULTS: Eighty-three palliative care clinicians (mostly MDs/DOs) participated. Challenges faced when prescribing opioids included clinician differences in approach to care (eg, transitioning from another clinician with more permissive opioid prescribing), medication access (eg, inadequate pharmacy supply), resource constraints (eg, access to mental health and addiction expertise), managing problems outside the typical palliative care scope (eg addiction). Participants also discussed factors that influenced their opioid prescribing decisions, such as opioid-related harms and risks that they need to weigh; they also spoke about the necessity of considering other factors like the patient's environment, disease, treatment, and prognosis.
CONCLUSION: This study highlights the challenge of opioid management in patients with serious illness, particularly when misuse or substance use disorder is present, and suggests areas for future research focus. Our next step will be to establish consensus on approaches to opioid prescribing decision-making and policy in seriously ill patients presenting to ambulatory palliative care.
PURPOSE: Adolescents and young adults (AYAs; age 15-39 years) with advanced cancer are a population in whom quality of life is uniquely affected because of their stage of life. However, training focused on palliative care for AYAs is not routinely provided for health care providers (HCPs) in oncology. This study aims to explore the experiences of HCPs involved in introducing and providing palliative care caring for AYAs with advanced cancer and their families to understand the unique challenges HCPs experience.
METHODS: Using a qualitative descriptive design, semistructured interviews were conducted with medical and radiation oncologists, palliative care physicians, psychiatrists, and advanced practice nurses involved in caring for AYAs diagnosed with advanced cancer (N = 19). Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using thematic analysis in combination with constant comparative analysis and theoretical sampling.
RESULTS: There were 19 participants, 9 men and 10 women, with a median age of 45 years (range, 24-67 years). Six were palliative care physicians, 5 medical oncologists, 4 nurse practitioners, and 2 each radiation oncologists and psychiatrists. Overall, participants perceived the provision of palliative care for AYAs to be more difficult compared with older adults. Four themes emerged: (1) challenges helping AYAs/families to engage in and accept palliative care, (2) uncertainty regarding how to involve the family, (3) HCP sense of tragedy, and (4) HCP sense of emotional proximity.
CONCLUSION: Findings from this study support the development of dedicated training for HCPs involved in palliative care for AYA.
Background: Guidelines on pediatric palliative care recommend to provide care for children and adolescents with life-limiting conditions at home. Since 2007, in Germany, palliative home care can be provided by specialized outpatient palliative care teams. However, teams with specific expertise for children are not available all over the country. Families without this support need to use the hospital to get specialists' assistance.
Objective: To explore how parents of children and adolescents with life-limiting conditions think about the hospital as place of care.
Design: We conducted narrative interviews with parents and analyzed these by using a grounded theory approach.
Setting/Subjects: we interviewed 13 parents (4 fathers and 9 mothers) of 9 children with life-limiting conditions receiving or having received pediatric specialized outpatient palliative care (SOPPC) in Germany.
Results: Parents reported feelings of vulnerability, heteronomy, and disablement associated with hospital care and were afraid that their children's needs were not adequately addressed. These perceptions resulted from hospitals' standardized care structures and over- and undertreatment, a lack of continuity of care, hospital pathogens, a lack of a palliative mindset, insensitive hospital staff, the exclusion of parents from the treatment and parental care of their children, the hospital stay as a permanent state of emergency, and a waste of limited life time.
Conclusion: Pediatric hospital staff needs training in identifying and responding to palliative care needs. SOPPC structures should be expanded all over Germany to meet the needs of families of children with life-limiting conditions.
Despite the alarming suicide rate among South Korean emerging adults, relatively little is known about their unfettered perspectives on death and suicide. Therefore, an innovative data collection technique was developed to apprehend the meanings that emerging adults attribute to death and suicide in their explorations of the phenomena through a selection of short stories. A convenience sample (N = 114) responded to a survey in which participants transferred their feelings toward death and suicide to characters or events in the short stories. A qualitative content analysis revealed relatively permissive perspectives toward death and suicide. Negative perspectives on death are associated with societal victimization and positive perspectives with naturalistic fatalism. Positive perspectives on suicide are overwhelmingly rooted in existential, individual choices while negative perspectives focus on societal pressures. These perspectives contribute to illuminating tensions between traditionalist collectivism and contemporary individualism in Korean society that could inform suicide prevention initiatives for emerging adults.
Advance care planning (ACP) has been shown to improve end-of-life care, yet uptake remains limited. Interventions aimed at increasing ACP uptake have often used a 'specialist ACP facilitator' model. The present qualitative study appraised the components of an ACP facilitator intervention comprising nurse-led patient screening and ACP discussions, as well as factors associated with the successful implementation of this model in primary care and acute hospital settings across rural and metropolitan Western Australia. Semistructured interviews were undertaken with 17 health professionals who were directly or indirectly involved in the facilitator ACP intervention among patients with severe respiratory disease. Additional process data (nurse facilitator role description, agreements with participating sites) were used to describe the nurse facilitator role. The interview data identified factors associated with successful implementation, including patient factors, health professional factors, ACP facilitator characteristics and the optimal settings for the intervention. The primary care setting was seen as most appropriate, and time limitations were a key consideration. Factors associated with successful implementation included trusting relationships between the nurse facilitator and referring doctor, as well as opportunities for meaningful encounters with patients. This study suggests a model of ACP nurse facilitation based in primary care may be an acceptable and effective method of increasing ACP uptake.
OBJECTIVE: To explore the experience of intensive care nurses when participating in the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatments from intensive care unit patients.
DESIGN AND METHODS: A qualitative descriptive and explorative design. Data were collected in 2017 and 2018 by interviewing nine intensive care nurses. The data were analysed by using systematic text condensation.
SETTING: The nine intensive care nurses interviewed worked in four different intensive care units located in one university hospital and one local hospital.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Experiences when participating in the process of withdrawing life-sustaining treatments.
FINDINGS: Three categories emerged from the data analysis: ICU nurses' experiences of stress in the process of treatment withdrawal; a requirement for interdisciplinary support and cooperation; and elements to achieve a dignified treatment withdrawal process.
CONCLUSION: The intensive care nurses experienced challenges and emotional reactions when patients were overtreated or when they had to participate in treatments they did not agree with. They considered debriefings to be helpful in dealing with emotions. Thorough planning, good communication, pain relief, and the creation of a peaceful environment were perceived as important elements in achieving a dignified treatment withdrawal process.
INTRODUCTION: Many children are born with life-limiting illnesses. Medical decision-making for these children by caregivers is complex and causes significant psychosocial distress, which can be partially alleviated by effective communication with medical providers. In order for providers to support caregivers, this study explores how caregivers make decisions regarding the medical care of their terminally ill children.
METHODS: Semistructured interviews were conducted among caregivers of terminally ill children. Participation was voluntary and confidential. The institutional review board approved the protocol. Transcripts were read and coded by 2 authors using inductive, concurrent analysis to reach thematic saturation and generate common themes.
RESULTS: Nine interviews were completed, discussing the care of 10 children. Caregivers described decision-making as impacted by their relationships with medical providers of 2 distinct types-trusting and nontrusting. Trusting relationships were notable for a longitudinal relationship with medical staff who empowered caregivers and treated the patient primarily as a child. Nontrusting relationships were noted when the medical team objectified their child as a "patient" and appeared to withhold information. Also, nontrusting relationships occurred when caregivers felt frustration with needing to educate health-care providers about their child's illness.
CONCLUSION: Decision-making by caregivers of terminally ill children is complex, and supporting families in this process is a critical role of all medical providers. A trusting relationship with medical team members was identified as an effective tool for well-supported decision-making, which can potentially alleviate the suffering of the child and distress of the caregivers during this emotionally charged time.
BACKGROUND: Patients not considered for mechanical circulatory support or heart transplant may be dependent on inotropic therapy at end of life. End-of-life conversations in advanced heart failure can be challenging for providers, but guidelines recommend frequent goals-of-care conversations when inotropes are used as a palliative treatment. The purpose of this study was to identify aspects of care pertinent for health-care professionals working with patients in end-stage heart failure who are receiving continuous inotropic support.
METHODS: Qualitative analysis was used to examine 3 audio-recorded semistructured interviews with 1 patient, her family, and her cardiologist. The selected patient was an older adult, diagnosed with advanced heart failure, and dependent on continuous inotropic therapy with no other advanced treatment options available.
RESULTS: The analysis revealed that (1) reliance on others, (2) contending with uncertainty, and (3) deciding when to discontinue inotropic support were identified as themes central to the patient's and provider's experience.
CONCLUSION: This study offers insight into how to best support and communicate with patients having advanced heart failure who are dependent on continuous inotropic therapy at end of life.
Background: Patient/clinician communication is critical to quality cancer care at the end-of-life (EOL). Yet discussions about systemic therapy discontinuation or hospice as a care option are commonly deferred. Real-time communication about these complex topics has not been evaluated. Palliative care visits may provide useful insight into how communication about EOL care occurs over time.
Objective: To explore the nature of discussions about systemic therapy discontinuation and hospice among patients, families, and palliative care clinicians during care for incurable cancer.
Design: Qualitative study of palliative care visits.
Setting/Subjects: We audiorecorded visits of patients and families who participated in a palliative care trial from diagnosis of incurable lung or noncolorectal gastrointestinal cancer through the course of cancer care (n = 30).
Measurements: We used thematic analysis to characterize communication patterns in the context of clinical events.
Results: Content and tenor of discussions shifted in relation to patient health status. In the absence of acute medical deterioration, discussions addressed hospice broadly as an EOL care option. Candid exchanges between patients and families and their clinicians supported increasing depth and specificity of EOL care communication. As clinicians identified that patients were not tolerating treatment, the clinicians encouraged contemplation about quality-of-life implications of continuing treatment or the possibility that treatment might harm more than help, in anticipation of change in health status.
Conclusions: Longitudinal relationships with palliative care clinicians functioned through multiple pathways to support patients and families in making complex EOL care decisions. Results inform models and interventions of communication at the EOL.