‘Close to’ a palliative approach: nurses' and care aides' descriptions of caring for people with advancing chronic life-limiting conditions
Background. Ageing populations worldwide are drawing increasing attention to palliative care. In particular, people with advancing chronic life-limiting conditions often have unmet needs and may die in acute medical, residential care and home health settings without access to palliative care. A palliative approach offers an upstream orientation to adopt palliative care principles to meet the needs of people with life-limiting chronic conditions, adapt palliative care knowledge to other chronic illness conditions, and integrate and contextualise this knowledge within the healthcare system (Sawatzky et al. 2016).
Design. A qualitative study using the method of interpretive description carried out by a nursing research-practice collaborative, Initiative for a Palliative Approach: Evidence and Leadership (iPANEL).
Methods. Twenty-five nurses and five nursing assistants from across British Columbia, Canada participated in interviews and focus groups. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data.
Results. The overarching theme was that of participants close to a palliative approach in that they cared for people who would benefit from a palliative approach, they were committed to providing better end-of-life care, and they understood palliative approach as an extension of specialised palliative care services. Participants varied in their self-reported capacity to integrate a palliative approach, as they were influenced by role clarity, interprofessional collaboration and knowledge.
Conclusions. Integration of a palliative approach requires a conceptual shift and can be enhanced through interpersonal relationships and communication, role clarification and education.
Relevance to clinical practice. Nurses care for people with advancing chronic life-limiting
conditions in a variety of settings who would benefit from a palliative approach.