Compassion is deemed a "basic social emotion" (Nussbaum) and decreed a National Health Service core value-yet, what does 'compassion' really mean? Moreover, why is it so important, how can we deliver it best and how do we measure achievement here? This essay will argue that compassion stands apart from other forms of interpersonal engagement as a deeply human recognition of another's suffering which inherently motivates action to do something about this. There are two inextricable elements here: the role of suffering, and the resultant call to action it motivates.The role of compassion pivots on suffering, and thus, our interpretation of suffering and what we consider its upstream cause: the problem to be fixed. Palliative medicine here stands apart, priding itself on the holistic care of what is important to the patient; thus, the symptoms problematic to the patient are the problem, rather than the underlying cause per se.Compassion drives motivation to act; medicine equips us with the tools by which we can respond to this. Thus, compassion has been described as a 'calling' to healthcare for many who join the profession, and perhaps it is when these tools seem to fail that compassion fatigue takes hold. Though this is beyond the scope of this essay, compassion fatigue is considered a form of burnout directly related to the experiences of a caregiver. Thus, compassion is central, and its outcomes stem first from our perspective of the issue at hand and second from our ability to drive change. The ability to recognise suffering in another and be motivated to help has relevance far beyond work in palliative medicine; perhaps this form of interpersonal engagement extends to humanity itself.
Background: The aim of this study was to analyse the buffering effect of individual, social and organisational resources on health and intention to leave the profession in the context of burden due to quantitative job demands.
Methods: In 2017, a cross-sectional survey was carried out anonymously among nurses in palliative care in Germany. One thousand three hundred sixteen nurses responded to the questionnaire (response rate 38.7%), which contained, amongst others, questions from the German version of the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ). Moderator analyses were conducted to investigate the buffering effect of different resources on health (‘self-rated health’ and ‘burnout’) and ‘intention to leave’ in the context of quantitative demands.
Results: ‘Self-rated health’ was significantly buffered by the resources ‘recognition through salary’ (p = 0.001) and ‘good working team’ (p = 0.004). Additionally, buffering effects of the resources ‘workplace commitment’ and ‘good working team’ on ‘burnout’ (p = 0.001 and p = 0.006, respectively) as well as of the resources ‘degree of freedom’, ‘meeting relatives after death of patients’, ‘recognition from supervisor’ and ‘possibilities for development’ on ‘intention to leave’ (p = 0.014, p = 0.012, p = 0.007 and p = 0.036, respectively) were observed.
Conclusions: The results of our study can be used to develop and implement job (re) design interventions with the goal of reducing the risk of burnout and enhancing job satisfaction among nurses in palliative care. This includes for example adequate payment, communication training and team activities or team events to strengthen the team as well as the implementation of some rituals (such as meeting relatives after the death of patients). As our study was exploratory, the results should be confirmed in further studies.
Objective: to explore self-perception competence among Spanish nurses dealing with patient death and its relationship with work environment, evidence-based practice, and occupational stress.
Method: a cross-sectional web-based survey collected information from a convenience sample of 534 nurses from professional Spanish Colleges who answered four validated questionnaires: Coping with Death Scale, Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index, Perception of Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) and Nursing Stress Scale.
Results: a total of 79% of the participants were women, the average age was 40 years old, 38% had a postgraduate degree and 77% worked in public health settings. Many nurses evaluated their work environment as unfavorable (66%), reported high occupational stress (83.5±14.9), and had high scores on knowledge/skills in EBP (47.9±11.3). However, 61.2% of them perceived an optimal coping (>157 score). The multivariate logistic model indicated positive associations with work environment and EBP characteristics (OR: 1.30, p=0.054; OR: 1.04, p=0.007; OR: 1.13, p<0.001, respectively) but negative associations with occupational stress and short work experience (OR: 0.98, p=0.0043; OR: 0.74, p<0.002, respectively). These factors explained 23.1% of the coping variance (p<0.001).
Conclusion: although most nurses perceived optimal coping, the situation could be enhanced by modifying several contextual factors. The identification of these factors would improve the quality of end-of-life care by facilitating nursing management.
Palliative care practice is associated with risk factors linked to end-of-life, chronicity, personal, interpersonal, and work characteristics, as well as with protective factors, but how these are perceived by the health care providers themselves is not clear. This article aims to elaborate a theoretical framework explaining the risk and protective factors for palliative care providers in their daily practice. Nineteen providers (16 nurses, 3 physicians) working in a palliative care unit of a clinical-research institute in Northern Italy were interviewed. A Grounded Theory qualitative approach guided the data collection and analysis. From the interviews, 28 codes, subsequently organized into 11 interconnected categories, emerged. They described both stressors (emotion management regarding death/dying, conflicts, communication and relationship with patients/caregivers, discrepancies between patients' and caregivers' needs, communication of poor diagnosis/prognosis, decision making about treatment, and real-life and work interference) and protective factors (social support, positive approach and value of past experience, recognized value of/passion toward professional work, work-family balance). Experiencing these elements as positive or negative depends on the professionals' point of view, as well as their past and present experience.
Understanding what dealing with life-limiting illnesses means may suggest tailored interventions to improve professionals' well-being by fostering the protective elements and combatting the risk factors.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between social support (from personal and workplace sources) and psychological distress (depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms), as well as to examine the mediating role of satisfaction with work-family balance among hospice nurses.
DESIGN AND METHOD: A cross-sectional study design was utilized with a sample of 90 hospice nurses from the southern United States. Participants completed online surveys, including (a) the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS-21), (b) loosely adapted items from the Affectivity, Burnout, and Absenteeism Scales, and (c) Satisfaction with Work-Family Balance Scale.
FINDINGS: Workplace social support, not personal social support, was associated with lower psychological distress, and satisfaction with work-family balance mediated the relationship between workplace social support and depression symptoms, a component of psychological distress.
CONCLUSIONS: Hospice nurses' social support in the workplace and their satisfaction with the balance between their work and family lives play a role in supporting their mental health.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Hospice nurses may benefit from programs fostering the creation of workplace-based interpersonal relationships.
OBJECTIVES: To facilitate care at the end of life at home, support from family caregivers is crucial. A substantial number of these family caregivers also work. Work in relation to care for terminally ill patients has received limited attention. To better understand the context in which these family caregivers provide care, we provide a detailed overview of the situation and experiences of family caregivers of terminally ill patients at home, with and without paid work.
METHODS: We used a pooled cross-section of data from the Dutch Informal Care Study, collected in 2014 and 2016. All working and non-working family caregivers of terminally ill patients at home were included (n=292).
RESULTS: Working family caregivers reported more care tasks, and shared care tasks with others more often than non-working caregivers. No differences between working and non-working caregivers were found in negative and positive experiences. Non-working caregivers provided care more often because the care recipient wanted to be helped by them or because there was no one else available than working caregivers. About 70% of the working caregivers were able to combine work and family caregiving successfully.
CONCLUSIONS: Working and non-working family caregivers of terminally ill patients at home have similar burden and positive experiences. Working family caregivers vary in their ability to combine work and care. Although the majority of working family caregivers successfully combine work and care, a substantial number struggle and need more support with care tasks at home or responsibilities at work.
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Healthcare professionals working in palliative care are exposed to emotionally intense conditions. Scientific literature suggests Expressive Writing as a valid tool for the adjustment to traumatic events. For health workers, EW represents an important support to prevent Compassion Fatigue and Burnout. As literature showed that Compassion Satisfaction, Group Cohesion and the Organizational Commitment are protective factors able to counter the onset of Compassion Fatigue and Burnout, the aim of this study is evaluating the effect of Expressive Writing protocol in Palliative Care workers on Compassion Satisfaction, Group Cohesion and Organizational Commitment.
METHODS: A quasi-experimental quantitative 2x2 prospective study was conducted with two groups and two measurements. 66 professionals were included. Outcome variables were measured using: Organizational Commitment Questionnaire, Compassion Satisfaction Rating Scale, ICONAS Questionnaire, Questionnaire for the evaluation of EW sessions.
RESULTS: The parametric analysis through Student t test did not show statistical significance within the experimental group and between the experimental and control groups. One significant difference in the pre-intervention assessment of Normative Commitment t (gl 64) = -2.008 for p< 0.05, higher in the control group, disappeared in the post intervention evaluation. An improvement trend in all variables within and between groups was present, with a positive assessment of utility from the participants.
CONCLUSIONS: This intervention did not significantly impact outcome variables. It is however conceivable that by modifying the intervention methodology, it could prove effective. The positive evaluation by the operators, suggests to keep trying modelling a protocol tailored on Palliative Care professionals.
En EHPAD, la prise en compte des attentes et des besoins de la personne dans la démarche du projet personnalisé se réfère directement aux recommandations de l’Anesm sur la bientraitance et s’inscrit dans la loi n° 2002-2 du 2 janvier 2002 rénovant l’action sociale et médico-sociale. L’auteure se questionne sur la nature du sens au travail des soignants lors des prises en soins globales et complètes des personnes accueillies. Une meilleure perception du travail par les salariés génère le besoin pour eux de s’adapter aux organisations induites par le respect des habitudes de vie du résident. La qualité des soins s’améliore pour répondre aux exigences institutionnelles. Cependant, les restrictions budgétaires obligent à repenser les activités de manière efficiente. Une enquête auprès de professionnels en responsabilité d’équipe, effectuée à partir d’entretiens semi directifs a mis en évidence des similitudes ainsi que des différences de pratiques managériales.
Au coeur de nombreuses réformes et d'un contexte socio-économique difficile, les établissements de santé sont amenés à repnser leurs organisations et les conditions de travail sont donc modifiées. En lien avec ce contexte en perpétuel changement et le travail propre de soignant, les émotions prennent une place prépondérante. En effet, la complexification des organisations impose aux différents acteurs de s'adapter et de réinventer de nouvelles manières de travailler ensemble. Les pratiques managériales doivent également être innovantes, afin d'accompagner les soignants qui risquent de perdre leur sens de leurs pratiques professionnelles. L'auteure s'est donc intéressée aux conditions permettant les échanges, le soutien et l'expression des professionnels de santé lors des situations à forte charge émotionnelle. L'enquête par entretiens semi-directifs auprès de cadres de santé et d'infirmières permettra d'interroger le lien entre la démarche participative et intelligence émotionnelle.
The impact of traumatic workplace death on bereaved families, including their mental health and well-being, has rarely been systematically examined. This study aimed to document the rates and key correlates of probable posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder (MDD), and prolonged grief disorder (PGD) in family members following a workplace injury fatality. The hidden nature of the target population necessitated outreach recruitment techniques, including the use of social media, newspaper articles, radio interviews, and contact with major family support organizations. Data were collected using a cross-sectional design and international online survey. The PCL-C (PTSD), the PHQ-8 (MDD), and PG-13 (PGD) were used to measure mental health disorders. All are well-established self-report measures with strong psychometric qualities. Participants were from Australia (62%), Canada (17%), the USA (16%), and the UK (5%). The majority were females (89.9%), reflecting the gender distribution of traumatic workplace deaths (over 90% of fatalities are male). Most were partners/spouses (38.5%) or parents (35%) and over half (64%) were next of kin to the deceased worker. Most deaths occurred in the industries that regularly account for more than 70 percent of all industrial deaths-construction, manufacturing, transport, and agriculture forestry and fishing. At a mean of 6.40 years (SD = 5.78) post-death, 61 percent of participants had probable PTSD, 44 percent had probable MDD, and 43 percent had probable PGD. Logistic regressions indicated that a longer time since the death reduced the risk of having each disorder. Being next of kin and having a self-reported mental health history increased the risk of having MDD. Of the related information and support variables, having satisfactory support from family, support from a person to help navigate the post-death formalities, and satisfactory information about the death were associated with a decreased risk of probable PTSD, MDD, and PGD, respectively. The findings highlight the potential magnitude of the problem and the need for satisfactory information and support for bereaved families.
Job satisfaction among hospice and palliative nurses is important as turnover and a dissatisfied workforce impact the work environment and the care provided to seriously ill patients and their families. This article reports the results of a nationwide survey of 633 hospice and palliative nurses evaluating job satisfaction, intent to leave, job stressors, suggested work improvements, and self-care strategies. Statistically significant correlations were found between the Home Healthcare Job Satisfaction Scale and subscales and the individual’s self-rating of overall job satisfaction, likelihood of leaving the job, and thoughts of quitting. Multiple regression revealed a significant positive association between salary and overall job satisfaction, relationship with the organization, professional pride, autonomy, and control. A grounded theory approach was utilized to analyze qualitative data. Top job stressors identified were workload and problems with administration. Physical activities were cited as the most popular for self-care. Results indicate that most participants were highly satisfied with their work, but almost half think of quitting some or all of the time, indicating dissatisfaction with the work environment. Respondents suggested that employers increase recognition and salary, create a more positive work environment, decrease workload, and focus on patient needs rather than profits.
Par nature, le travail en équipe mobile de soins palliatifs expose à des tensions sur le plan clinique, groupal, institutionnel, mais aussi personnel. Il est important d'identifier les interactions en jeu pour clarifier le cadre de travail et ajuster sa posture professionnelle. Riche d'une réflexion continue de notre équipe, les auteurs se proposent de décrire quelques exemples des questionnements liés à cet exercice.
This research aimed to explore the role of workplace responses in psychologists’ adaptation to client suicides. Participants were 178 psychologists who completed an online self-report questionnaire which included both open and closed questions yielding qualitative and quantitative data. Fifty-six (31.5%) participants reported one or more client suicides. Mixed results were found in terms of perceived support from the workplace following a client suicide. Psychologists reported a need for more open communication in the workplace, peer supports, space to grieve, as well as opportunities to engage in a learning process. The findings have important implications for research and for understanding the role of the workplace postvention. It also raises the need for external support to be accessible for psychologists working in private practice.
BACKGROUND: Socio-economic factors play important roles in place of death. However, up-to-date knowledge on socio-economic determinants for place of death is warranted including analysis of collinearity between socio-economic determinants.
AIM: To examine associations between socio-economic determinants (social class, deprivation level in area of residence, income, education, occupation, urbanisation) and place of death among adult patients with life-limiting illnesses. Furthermore, to describe how these factors are operationalised and examined for collinearity.
DESIGN: A systematic review was performed (PROSPERO, record: CRD42018091218) and quality was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale.
DATA SOURCES: A comprehensive search of PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, Scopus and PsycINFO was conducted for studies published from 1 January 2008 until the date of the search (23 March 2018) in English or Scandinavian languages.
RESULTS: Of the 1599 unique citations identified, 34 studies were eligible. Dying at home was to a high degree associated with better financial situation and living in rural areas. Furthermore, hospital death was associated with a high level of deprivation in the area of residence and being employed. Regarding educational level, we found mixed and inconclusive results.
CONCLUSION: Inequalities concerning place of death were found, and attention towards socio-economic inequality concerning place of death is necessary, especially in patients with a poor financial status, patients living in deprived and metropolitan areas and patients who are employed. Furthermore, we found a low degree of assessment for collinearity and adjustment of socio-economic variables. These issues should be considered in planning of future studies of socio-economic determinants for place of death.
Background: The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) has a palliative care (PC) volunteering program that has recruited college students since 2010. There is little research on the effects of PC volunteering on collegiate volunteers.
Objective: The objective is to determine the impact of PC volunteering on college students' professional lives and on their interest in PC.
Design/Setting/Measurements: The UIHC Volunteer Services office sent a 25-question survey with closed- and open-ended items to previous and current PC college volunteers. We used descriptive statistics to characterize the sample. Free text responses were analyzed using a descriptive qualitative approach with three independent coders.
Results: Seventy-one percent of respondents (23/33) reported they were more likely to pursue PC after volunteering. PC volunteering helped change views of patient care and abilities to discuss end-of-life situations. Ninety-one percent served as informal ambassadors by discussing PC with family and peers. Major themes identified include motivation to volunteer for patient contact and interest in learning about PC. Respondents described meaningful patient interactions, lessons in empathy, and the power of listening.
Conclusions: These results suggest that PC volunteering affects career choices and helps volunteers gain needed listening skills for patient care in the future. The unique exposure and interactions with PC patients and their families have changed volunteers' understanding of health care. PC volunteers speak in their social networks about PC. This experience may increase the likelihood of student volunteers to pursue careers in PC.
Objective: Healthcare professionals who work in palliative care units face stressful life events on a daily basis, most notably death. For this reason, these professionals must be equipped with the necessary protective resources to help them cope with professional and personal burnout. Despite the well-recognized importance of the construct "meaning of work," the role of this construct and its relationship with other variables is not well-understood. Our objective is to develop and evaluate a model that examines the mediating role of the meaning of work in a multidisciplinary group of palliative care professionals. Using this model, we sought to assess the relationships between meaning of work, perceived stress, personal protective factors (optimism, self-esteem, life satisfaction, personal growth, subjective vitality), and sociodemographic variables.
Method: Professionals (n = 189) from a wide range of disciplines (physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers, nursing assistants, physical therapists, and chaplains) working in palliative care units at hospitals in Madrid and the Balearic Islands were recruited. Sociodemographic variables were collected and recorded. The following questionnaires were administered: Meaning of Work Questionnaire, Perceived Stress Questionnaire, Life Orientation Test-Revised, Satisfaction with Life Scale, Subjective Vitality Scale, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and the Personal Growth Scale.
Result: The explanatory value of the model was high, explaining 49.5% of the variance of life satisfaction, 43% of subjective vitality, and 36% of personal growth. The main findings of this study were as follow: (1) meaning of work and perceived stress were negatively correlated; (2) optimism and self-esteem mediated the effect of stress on the meaning attached to work among palliative care professionals; (3) the meaning of work mediated the effect of stress on subjective vitality, personal growth, and life satisfaction; and (4) vitality and personal growth directly influenced life satisfaction.
Significance of results: The proposed model showed a high explanatory value for the meaning professionals give to their work and also for perceived stress, personal protective factors, and sociodemographic variables. Our findings could have highly relevant practical implications for designing programs to promote the psychological well-being of healthcare professionals.
Au Québec, le rôle des maisons de SP est central dans l'offre de soins en fin de vie. Avec l'évolution et le vieillissement de la société, des lois et du travail, qui se complexifient, les soignants et l'ensemble des intervenants se voient exposés à une demande émotionnelle croissante combinée à d'autres facteurs de stress. Pourtant, aucun programme visant à favoriser le bien-être au travail pour ce type d'intervenants ne semble disponible au Canada. S'inspirant d'écrits et d'expériences internationales, un processus novateur permettant l'élaboration et la mise en oeuvre d'un programme de bien-être pour intervenants en maison de soins palliatifs (SP) a été entrepris suivant l'influence de la recherche-action. L'article décrit cette démarche de coconstruction. Ce type d'innovation pourrait permettre l'amorce d'une transformation systémique reconnaissant l'importance de soutenir les acteurs den SP pour offrir des soins de fin de vie de qualité.
The average expected lifespan in Canadian long-term care (LTC) homes is now less than two years post-admission, making LTC a palliative care setting. As little is known about the readiness of LTC staff in Canada to embrace a palliative care mandate, the main objective of this study was to assess qualities relevant to palliative care, including personal emotional wellbeing, palliative care self-efficacy and person-centred practices (e.g. knowing the person, comfort care). A convenience sample of 228 professional and non-professional staff (e.g. nurses and nursing assistants) across four Canadian LTC homes participated in a survey. Burnout, secondary traumatic stress and poor job satisfaction were well below accepted thresholds, e.g. burnout: mean = 20.49 (standard deviation (SD) = 5.39) for professionals; mean = 22.09 (SD = 4.98) for non-professionals; cut score = 42. Furthermore, only 0–1 per cent of each group showed a score above cut-off for any of these variables. Reported self-efficacy was moderate, e.g. efficacy in delivery: mean = 18.63 (SD = 6.29) for professionals; mean = 15.33 (SD = 7.52) for non-professionals; maximum = 32. The same was true of self-reported person-centred care, e.g. knowing the person; mean = 22.05 (SD = 6.55) for professionals; mean = 22.91 (SD = 6.16) for non-professionals; maximum = 35. t-Tests showed that non-professional staff reported relatively higher levels of burnout, while professional staff reported greater job satisfaction and self-efficacy (p < 0.05). There was no difference in secondary traumatic stress or person-centred care (p > 0.05). Overall, these results suggest that the emotional wellbeing of the Canadian LTC workforce is unlikely to impede effective palliative care. However, palliative care self-efficacy and person-centred care can be further cultivated in this context.
OBJECTIVES: To explore how psychology trainee death concerns and ageist behavior relate to their willingness and desire to work with older adults.
METHOD: Trainees (N = 104; 80.8% women) completed the Death Thought-Accessibility Measure, Relating to Older People Evaluation (ROPE), Death Anxiety Scale-Extended (DASE), and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and rated their willingness and desire to work with older adults and their willingness to obtain training on how to work with older adults.
RESULTS: Pearson correlations showed that salience of death-related thoughts, death anxiety (but not general anxiety), and negative behaviors toward older adults were significantly negatively associated with trainees' willingness and desire to work with older adults. Regressions revealed that negative behaviors toward older adults was the strongest factor associated with willingness and desire to work with older adults, whereas positive behaviors toward older adults was the strongest factor associated with being willing to obtain training in working with older adults. Death anxiety and salience of death-related thoughts positively correlated with each other and were each positively associated with negative behaviors toward older adults.
CONCLUSION: Helping graduate trainees become more comfortable with mortality and changing negative behaviors toward older adults may increase their interest in gerontology and geriatrics.
BACKGROUND: Increased exposure to deaths in the intensive care unit (ICU) generate grief among ICU staff, which remains unresolved most of the time. Unresolved grief becomes cumulative and presents a risk factor for burnout. "sacred pause" is a ritual performed at patient's death to honor the lost life and recognize the efforts of the health-care team.
OBJECTIVE: To study the impact of the ritual of sacred pause on the attitudes and behaviors of the ICU physicians and nurses.
METHODS: Ten-question online anonymous survey was sent to ICU physicians and nurses in the medical ICU of a tertiary care hospital in July 2017.
RESULTS: Thirty-four ICU team members completed the survey including 12 physicians and 22 nurses. Seventy sacred pause rituals were performed from July 2016 to June 2017. Seventy-nine percent respondents believed that the ritual brought closure and helped them overcome the feelings of disappointment, grief, distress, and failure after the death of their patient in ICU. Seventy-three percent agreed that the ritual has instilled and encouraged a sense of team effort. Eighty-two percent responded that the ritual makes their efforts feel appreciated. Many felt that the ritual should be a universal phenomenon in all ICUs. Only 55% respondents felt that the practice has a potential to decrease ICU burnout, many of them (42%) were undecided.
CONCLUSION: Sacred pause brings closure, prevents cumulative grief and distress, builds resilience, promotes team effort, and improves professional satisfaction of ICU team. It may lower burnout syndrome in ICU, but further studies are warranted.