Implementing the care programme for the last days of life in an acute geriatric hospital ward: A phase 2 mixed method study

Rebecca Verhofstede, Tinne Smets, Joachim Cohen, Massimo Costantini, Nele Van Den Noortgate, Luc Deliens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: To improve the quality of end-of-life care in geriatric hospital wards we developed the Care Programme for the Last Days of Life. It consists of 1) the Care Guide for the Last Days of Life, 2) supportive documentation and 3) an implementation guide. The aim of this study is (1) to determine the feasibility of implementing the Care Programme for the Last Days of Life in the acute geriatric hospital setting and (2) to explore the health care professionals' perceptions of the effects of the Care Programme on end-of-life care. Methods: A phase 2 mixed methods study according with the MRC framework was performed in the acute geriatric ward of Ghent University Hospital between 1 April and 30 September 2013. During the implementation process a mixed methods approach was used including observation, interviews and the use of a quantitative process evaluation tool. This tool measured the success of implementation using several indicators, such as whether a steering group was formed, whether and how much of the health care staff was informed and trained and how many patients were cared for according to the Care Guide for the Last Days of Life. Results: The process evaluation tool showed that implementing the Care Programme for the Last Days of Life in the geriatric ward was successful and thus feasible; a steering group was formed consisting of two facilitators, health care staff of the geriatric ward were trained in using the Care Guide for the Last Days of Life which was subsequently introduced onto the ward and approximately 57 % of all dying patients were cared for according to the Care Guide for the Last Days of Life. With regard to health care professionals' perceptions, nurses and physicians experienced the Care Guide for the Last Days of Life as improving the overall documentation of care, improving communication among health care staff and between health care staff and patient/family and improving the quality of end-of-life care. Barriers to implementing the Care Programme for the Last Days of Life successfully are, among others, difficulties with the content of the documents used within the Care Programme for the Last Days of Life and the low participation rate of physicians in the training sessions and audits. Conclusions: Results of this mixed methods study suggest that implementing the Care Programme for the Last Days of Life is feasible and that it has favorable effects on end-of-life care as reported by health care professionals. Based on the identified barriers during the implementation process, we were able to make recommendations for future implementation and further refine the Care Programme for the Last Days of Life before implementing it in a phase 3 cluster randomized controlled trial for the evaluation of its effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 5 2016

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Geriatrics
Terminal Care
Delivery of Health Care
Documentation
Quality of Life
Physicians
Randomized Controlled Trials
Nurses
Communication
Observation
Interviews

Keywords

  • Hospital
  • Older patients
  • Terminal care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Implementing the care programme for the last days of life in an acute geriatric hospital ward : A phase 2 mixed method study. / Verhofstede, Rebecca; Smets, Tinne; Cohen, Joachim; Costantini, Massimo; Van Den Noortgate, Nele; Deliens, Luc.

In: BMC Palliative Care, Vol. 15, No. 1, 102, 05.03.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Verhofstede, Rebecca ; Smets, Tinne ; Cohen, Joachim ; Costantini, Massimo ; Van Den Noortgate, Nele ; Deliens, Luc. / Implementing the care programme for the last days of life in an acute geriatric hospital ward : A phase 2 mixed method study. In: BMC Palliative Care. 2016 ; Vol. 15, No. 1.
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