Emergency department staff priorities for improving palliative care provision for older people: a qualitative study

Wright, Rebecca J, Lowton, Karen, Glenn, Robert, Grudzen, Corita R and Grocott, Patricia (2018) Emergency department staff priorities for improving palliative care provision for older people: a qualitative study. Palliative Medicine, 32 (2). pp. 417-425. ISSN 0269-2163

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Background: Emergency department–based palliative care services are increasing, but research to develop these services rarely includes input from emergency clinicians, jeopardizing the effectiveness of subsequent palliative care interventions.

Aim: To collaboratively identify with emergency clinicians’ improvement priorities for emergency department–based palliative care for older people.

Design: This was one component of an experience-based co-design project, conducted using semi-structured interviews and feedback sessions.

Setting/participants: In-depth interviews with 15 emergency clinicians (nurses and doctors) at a large teaching hospital emergency department in the United Kingdom exploring experiences of palliative care delivery for older people. A thematic analysis identified core challenges that were presented to 64 clinicians over five feedback sessions, validating interview findings, and identifying shared priorities for improving palliative care delivery.

Results: Eight challenges emerged: patient age; access to information; communication with patients, family members, and clinicians; understanding of palliative care; role uncertainty; complex systems and processes; time constraints; and limited training and education. Through feedback sessions, clinicians selected four challenges as improvement priorities: time constraints; communication and information; systems and processes; and understanding of palliative care. As resulting improvement plans evolved, “training and education” replaced “time constraints” as a priority.

Conclusion: Clinician priorities for improving emergency department–based palliative care were identified through collaborative, iterative processes. Though generally aware of older palliative patients’ needs, clinicians struggled to provide high-quality care due to a range of complex factors. Further research should identify whether priorities are shared across other emergency departments, and develop, implement, and evaluate strategies developed by clinicians.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: Karen Lowton
Date Deposited: 08 May 2017 12:09
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 16:20
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/67732

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