Patients receiving home care are becoming increasingly dependent upon competent caregivers’ 24-h availability due to their substantial care needs, often with advanced care and home care technology included. In Sweden, care is often carried out by municipality-employed paraprofessionals such as health care assistants (HC assistants) with limited or no health care training, performing advanced care without formal training or support. The aim of this study was to investigate the work experience of the HC assistants and to explore how they manage when delivering 24-h home care to patients with substantial care needs. Grounded theory methodology involving multiple data sources comprising interviews with HC assistants (n=19) and field observations in patients’ homes was used to collect data and constant comparative analysis was used for analysis. The initial analysis revealed a number of barriers, competence gap; trapped in the home setting; poor supervision and unconnected to the patient care system, describing the risks associated with the situations of HC assistants working in home care, thus affecting their working conditions as well as the patient care. The core process identified was the HC assistants’ strivings to combine safe home care with good working conditions by using compensatory processes. The four identified compensatory processes were: day-by-day learning; balancing relations with the patient; self-managing; and navigating the patient care system. By actively employing the compensatory processes, the HC assistants could be said to adopt an inclusive approach, by compensating for their own barriers as well as those of their colleagues’ and taking overall responsibility for their workplace. In conclusion, the importance of supporting HC assistants in relation to their needs for training, supervision,and support from health care professionals must be addressed when organising 24-h home care to patients with substantial care needs in the future.
Home care; home care technology; paraprofessional caregivers; training needs; grounded theory
This article concerns Swedish family physicians' (FPs) experiences collaborating with district nurses (DNs) when the DNs provide medical treatment for home care patients. The aim was to develop a model to illuminate this process from the FPs' perspective.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 FPs concerning one of their patients with home care by a DN. The interview focused on one patient's treatment and care by different care providers and the collaboration among them. Grounded theory methodology (GTM) was used in the analyses.
It was essential for FPs to collaborate with and rely on DNs in the medical treatment of home care patients. According to the FPs, factors such as the disease, FPs' working conditions and attitude determined how much of the initiative in this treatment FPs retained or left to DNs. Depending on the circumstances, two different roles were adopted by the individual FPs: medical conductors who retain the initiative and medical consultants who leave the initiative to DNs. Factors as the disease, DNs' attitudes towards collaboration and DNs' working conditions influenced whether or not the FPs felt that grounds for relying on DNs were satisfactory. Regardless of the role of the FP, conditions for medical treatment were judged by the FPs to be good enough when the grounds for relying on the DN were satisfactory and problematic when they were not.
In the role of conductor, the FP will identify when the grounds for relying on the DN are unsatisfactory and be able to take action, but in the role of consultant the FP will not detect this, leaving home care patients without appropriate support. Only when there are satisfactory grounds for relying on the DN, will conditions for providing home care medical treatment be good enough when the FP adopts a consultative role.
Patients in control of their own haemodialysis report better outcomes than those receiving professional controlled care in a hospital setting, even though home and hospital haemodialysis are largely equivalent from mechanical and physiological perspectives. Shared Haemodialysis Care (SHC) describes an initiative in which hospital haemodialysis patients are supported by dialysis staff to become as involved as they wish in their own care; and can improve patient safety, satisfaction and may reduce costs. We do not understand why interventions to support self-management in other conditions have variable effects or how to optimise the delivery of SHC. The purpose of this study was to identify perceived patient and professional (nurses and healthcare assistants) barriers to the uptake of SHC, and to use these data to identify intervention components to optimise care.
Individual semi-structured interviews with patients and professionals were conducted to identify barriers and facilitators. Data were coded to behavioural theory to identify solutions. A national UK learning event with multiple stakeholders (patients, carers, commissioners and professionals) explored the salience of these barriers and the acceptability of solutions.
A complex intervention strategy was designed to optimise SHC for patients and professionals. Interviews were conducted with patients (n = 15) and professionals (n = 7) in two hospitals and three satellite units piloting SHC. Data from patient and professional interviews could be coded to behavioural theory. Analyses identified key barriers (knowledge, beliefs about capabilities, skills and environmental context and resources). An intervention strategy that focuses on providing, first, patients with information about the shared nature of care, how to read prescriptions and use machines, and second, providing professionals with skills and protected time to teach both professionals/patients, as well as providing continual review, may improve the implementation of SHC and be acceptable to stakeholders.
We have developed an intervention strategy to improve the implementation of SHC for patients and professionals. While this intervention strategy has been systematically developed using behavioural theory, it should be rigorously tested in a subsequent effectiveness evaluation study prior to implementation to ensure that shared haemodialysis care can be delivered equitably, efficiently and safely for all patients.
Haemodialysis; Shared care; Behavioural theory; Barriers and facilitators
An increasing number of patients will receive municipal home health care services. Most of these patients will have frequent contact with a number of care providers across different settings, including GPs and hospitals. Ineffective transfer of information between the providers threatens the patient safety and quality of care.
The purpose of this Norwegian ongoing study, ‘Bridging the Information Gap in Patient Transition’, is to investigate how the introduction of an electronic messaging (e-message) system affects the quality of collaboration between home care providers and GPs.
We draw on Haggerty et al.'s (2003) conceptualization of informational continuity of care.
We use a combination of semi-structured interviews with care providers and participant observation of home care nursing.
Results and conclusions
Our study shows that the e-message system may contribute to improved communication between home care and GPs, compared to ‘traditional’ communication (telephone, face to face meetings). Although still used on a small scale, the introduction of e-messaging points towards more accurate and less obtrusive communication, and the communication is simultaneously documented in the patient’s medical record. Two areas that we see may have profound consequences for patient care are highlighted: the medication process and the accuracy of information.
home care; collaboration; information; electronic message; information and communication technology
Few studies have examined empowerment interventions as they actually unfold in home care in the context of chronic health problems. This study aims to document the empowerment process as it plays out in interventions with adults receiving home care services.
The qualitative design chosen is a fourth generation evaluation combined with case studies. A home care team of a health and social services center situated in the Eastern Townships (Québec, Canada) will be involved at every step in the study. A sample will be formed of 15 health care professionals and 30 of their home care clients and caregiver. Semi-structured interviews, observations of home care interventions and socio-demographic questionnaires will be used to collect the data. Nine instruments used by the team in prior studies will be adapted and reviewed. A personal log will document the observers' perspectives in order to foster objectivity and the focus on the intervention. The in-depth qualitative analysis of the data will illustrate profiles of enabling interventions and individual empowerment.
The ongoing process to transform the health care and social services network creates a growing need to examine intervention practices of health care professionals working with clients receiving home care services. This study will provide the opportunity to examine how the intervention process plays out in real-life situations and how health care professionals, clients and caregivers experience it. The intervention process and individual empowerment examined in this study will enhance the growing body of knowledge about empowerment.
Older persons in transition to need professional care in their homes will constitute a large group in municipalities in the future. The aim of this study was to obtain insight into nurses' experiences and perceptions of caring for patients in transition to receive homecare. Eleven home nurses divided into two focus groups were interviewed, and a phenomenological hermeneutical design was used. Four interpretations closely related to each other were revealed: it is essential to have an understanding of the patients' transition history; the nurse' repertoire is challenged in the transition process; care must be adapted to the patients' life world; the excellence of care is threatened by the context. The nurses strived to provide care based upon respect for the independent individual as a living whole. Their ambitions were, however, challenged and threatened by the caring context. The cooperation across organizational levels was pointed out as a critical factor with potential for improvement. This must be taken seriously to support the nurses in their endeavors to provide excellent care.
District nurses (DNs) provide home care for old persons with a mixture of chronic diseases, symptoms and reduced functional ability. Family physicians (FPs) have been criticised for their lack of involvement in this care. The aim of this study was to obtain increased knowledge concerning the FP's experience of providing medical treatment for patients with home care provided by DNs by developing a theoretical model that elucidates how FPs handle the problems they encounter regarding the individual patients and their conditions.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 Swedish FPs concerning one of their registered patients with home care by a DN, and the treatment of this patient. Grounded theory methodology (GTM) was used in the analyses.
The core category was the effort to stay in charge of the medical treatment. This involved three types of problems: gaining sufficient insight, making adequate decisions, and maintaining appropriate medical treatment. For three categories of patients, the FPs had problems staying in charge. Patients with reduced functional ability had problems providing information and maintaining treatment. Patients who were "fixed in their ways" did not provide information and did not comply with recommendations, and for patients with complex conditions, making adequate decisions could be problematic. To overcome the problems, four different strategies were used: relying on information from others, supporting close observation and follow-up by others, being constantly ready to change the goal of the treatment, and relying on others to provide treatment.
The patients in this study differed from most other patients seen at the healthcare centre as the consultation with the patient could not provide the usual foundation for decisions concerning medical treatment. Information from and collaboration with the DN and other home care providers was essential for the FP's effort to stay in charge of the medical treatment. The complexity of the situation made it problematic for the FP to make adequate decisions about the goal of the medical treatment. The goal of the treatment had to be constantly evaluated based on information from the DN and other care providers, and thus this information was absolutely crucial.
Patient safety is an ongoing global priority, with medication safety considered a prevalent, high-risk area of concern. Yet, we have little understanding of the supports and barriers to safe medication management in the Canadian home care environment. There is a clear need to engage the providers and recipients of care in studying and improving medication safety with collaborative approaches to exploring the nature and safety of medication management in home care.
A socio-ecological perspective on health and health systems drives our iterative qualitative study on medication safety with elderly home care clients, family members and other informal caregivers, and home care providers. As we purposively sample across four Canadian provinces: Alberta (AB), Ontario (ON), Quebec (QC) and Nova Scotia (NS), we will collect textual and visual data through home-based interviews, participant-led photo walkabouts of the home, and photo elicitation sessions at clients' kitchen tables. Using successive rounds of interpretive description and human factors engineering analyses, we will generate robust descriptions of managing medication at home within each provincial sample and across the four-province group. We will validate our initial interpretations through photo elicitation focus groups with home care providers in each province to develop a refined description of the phenomenon that can inform future decision-making, quality improvement efforts, and research.
The application of interpretive and human factors lenses to the visual and textual data is expected to yield findings that advance our understanding of the issues, challenges, and risk-mitigating strategies related to medication safety in home care. The images are powerful knowledge translation tools for sharing what we learn with participants, decision makers, other healthcare audiences, and the public. In addition, participants engage in knowledge exchange throughout the study with the use of participatory data collection methods.
Different models for care pathways involving both specialist and primary care have been developed to ensure adequate follow-up after discharge. These care pathways have mainly been developed and run by specialist care and have been disease-based. In this study, primary care providers took the initiative to develop a model for integrated care pathways across care levels for older patients in need of home care services after discharge. Initially, the objective was to develop pathways for patients diagnosed with heart failure, COPD and stroke. The aim of this paper is to investigate the process and the experiences of the participants in this developmental work. The participants were drawn from three hospitals, six municipalities and patient organizations in Central Norway.
This qualitative study used focus group interviews, written material and observations. Representatives from the hospitals, municipalities and patient organizations taking part in the development process were chosen as informants.
The development process was very challenging because of the differing perspectives on care and different organizational structures in specialist care and primary care. In this study, the disease perspective, being dominant in specialist care, was not found to be suitable for use in primary health care because of the need to cover a broader perspective including the patient’s functioning, social situation and his or her preferences. Furthermore, managing several different disease-based care pathways was found to be unsuitable in home care services, as well as unsuitable for a population characterized by a substantial degree of comorbidity. The outcome of the development process was a consensus that outlined a single, common patient-centred care pathway for transition from hospital to follow-up in primary care. The pathway was suitable for most common diseases and included functional and social aspects as well as disease follow-up, thus merging the differing perspectives. The disease-based care pathways were kept for use within the hospitals.
Disease-based care pathways for older patients were found to be neither feasible nor sustainable in primary care. A common patient-centred care pathway that could meet the needs of multi- morbid patients was recommended.
Care coordination; Continuity of patient care; Healthcare disparities; Multi-morbidity; Patient discharge; Primary care; Home care services; Interdisciplinary communication; Organizational culture; Health services for the aged
Modern hospital care should ostensibly be multi-professional and person-centred, yet it still seems to be driven primarily by a hegemonic, positivistic, biomedical agenda. This study aimed to describe the everyday practices of professionals and patients in a coronary care unit, and analyse how the routines, structures and physical design of the care environment influenced their actions and relationships.
Ethnographic fieldwork was conducted over a 16-month period (between 2009 and 2011) by two researchers working in parallel in a Swedish coronary care unit. Observations, informal talks and formal interviews took place with registered nurses, assistant nurses, physicians and patients in the coronary care unit. The formal interviews were conducted with six registered nurses (five female, one male) including the chief nurse manager, three assistant nurses (all female), two cardiologists and three patients (one female, two male).
We identified the structures that either promoted or counteracted the various actions and relationships of patients and healthcare professionals. The care environment, with its minimalistic design, strong focus on routines and modest capacity for dialogue, restricted the choices available to both patients and healthcare professionals. This resulted in feelings of guilt, predominantly on the part of the registered nurses.
The care environment restricted the choices available to both patients and healthcare professionals. This may result in increased moral stress among those in multi-professional teams who work in the grey area between biomedical and person-centred care.
Person-centered care; Moral stress; Interprofessional relationship; Professional-patient relations; Care environment; Care continuity.
Patient participation in healthcare is a neglected area of interest in the rather extensive amount of research on immigrant so-called Selma patients in Swedish health care as well as worldwide. The aim is to explore the phenomenon “patient participation” in the context of the Swedish health care from the perspective of immigrants non-fluent in Swedish. A phenomenological lifeworld approach was chosen. Data were collected from patients within a municipal home care setting in Sweden. Eight women agreed to participate. In seven interviews, an interpreter was necessary for the translation of the interview. Five authorized interpreters were used. Data were analysed in accordance to a descriptive phenomenological method for caring research. The analysis led to an essence of the phenomenon with three constituents, “to experience participation,” “to refrain from participation,” and “to be deprived of participation.” Patient participation from the perspective of immigrant women means that patients are involved and active in their own health and caring processes. For these women, it is particularly important to have the opportunity to express themselves. Patient participation presupposes professional caregivers who act in a way that increases the patients' opportunities to take part. A skilled interpreter is often necessary in order to enable the patient participation.
Immigrants; patient participation; phenomenology; translating; women
A growing number of patients with heart failure (HF) will need lifelong care and one option is to provide advanced HF care in the patient’s home. To our knowledge, studies describing the observed participation in home-care settings are lacking.
To identify and describe patient participation in care-meetings during home-care given through a European home-care model.
Study inclusion among Swedish patients that receive structured home-care at four different home care settings are ongoing. A strategic sample of patients is performed to reach a variation regarding severity of HF, different needs of home-care, age and gender. To collect data, video-recorded non participant observations are conducted. A total of 15 observations have been performed. The remaining observational data will be collected during 2011. Data will be analyzed with qualitative content analysis and categories developed inductively. The analysis has been initiated. Meaning units related to patient participation have been identified and recorded. The next step will be to develop codes out of the units, and to develop a coding scheme. Finally categories that describe patient participation will be developed.
Significance of the study: Participation in care is regulated in health-care legalizations and is important from the individual’s perspective. The results from this study can be used for deepening the understanding of participation in home-care.
heart failure; participation; home-care; observations
Using evidence gathered during 18 months of participant-observation in 2 nursing homes and 65 interviews with staff, this article examines how nursing-home staff use agency as a rhetorical resource to construct a dignified workplace. Staff attribute agency to dying residents, saying they choose the timing and conditions of their death. Staff equally insist that aggressive residents do not have agency. These two sets of attributions are used as counterpoints. Both go well beyond the available facts of the situation and reflect unspoken assumptions and interests of nursing-care workers. Through these attributions, the staff achieves a situated moral order in which compassionate care is provided to deserving residents in caring nursing homes. Staff attributions of agency are collectively shaped by professional philosophies, training and education, and regulatory guidelines. Finally, this article shows how it is analytically and theoretically productive to recast agency as a cultural object, whose use is subject to empirical investigation, rather than as a theoretical construct.
The aim of the study was to illuminate the meaning of older persons' independent decision making concerning their daily care. Autonomy when in care is highly valued in the western world. However, research shows that autonomy can give rise to problematic issues. The complexity of independence and dependence for older people when living at home with help has also been highlighted. In Sweden, older people are increasingly expected to live at home with help from municipal home care services, and study into this aspect of care is limited. This study is a part of an ongoing project and has a qualitative life world perspective. Audiotaped narrative interviews were conducted and analysed using a phenomenological hermeneutic method. Findings revealed a main theme: “living with uncertainty as to how to relate one's own independence and dependence with regard to oneself, and others.” This involves a constant process of relating to one's independence controlled by others or oneself, and adjusting one's independence and dependence with regard to oneself and others. The conclusion is that professional carers need to acknowledge the changing vulnerability of dependent older persons over time. The implication is a relational approach to autonomy beyond the traditional individualistic approach.
The design of new interventions to improve health care for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) requires knowledge about what patients with an acute exacerbation experience as important and useful. The objective of the study was to explore patients’ experiences of an early discharge hospital at home (HaH) treatment programme for exacerbations in COPD.
Six exacerbated COPD patients that were randomised to receiving HaH care and three patients randomised to receiving traditional hospital care were interviewed in semi-structured in-depth interviews. Four spouses were present during the respective patients’ interviews. The interviews were audio-taped, transcribed and analysed by a four-step method for systematic text condensing.
Despite limited assistance from the health care service, the patients and their spouses experienced the HaH treatment as safe. They expressed that information that was adapted to specific situations in their daily lives and given in a familiar environment had positive impact on their self-management of COPD.
The results contribute to increased knowledge and awareness about what the patients experienced as important aspects of a HaH treatment programme. How adapted input from health services can make patients with exacerbation of COPD feel safe and better able to manage their disease, is important knowledge for developing new and effective health services for patients with chronic disease.
Hospital at home treatment; Acute exacerbation of COPD; Qualitative interviews; Patient perspective
Acute hospital settings do not provide the ideal care environment for older patients with heart failure (HF). An option is to provide advanced HF care in the patient’s home. A European integrated home-care model has been developed with the goals that patients will experience participation, safety and have knowledge about their disease and treatment. Participation in care has shown to have positive effects on self-care activities.
To describe the meaning of participation in care of HF patients who receive home-care.
Patients receiving home-care at four different settings were included in the study. Strategic sampling was used to reach a variation regarding severity of HF, different needs of home-care, age and gender. A total of 18 open ended interviews have been conducted. The interviews were analyzed with qualitative content analysis, where categories were developed inductively. A preliminary analysis based on nine out of 18 interviews has been initiated. Five preliminary categories that describe patient participation have been identified: caring communication, accessibility, individual activity, trust and prerequisites for making decisions. Each category consists of different subcategories.
Significance of the study: Participation in care is regulated in health-care legalizations and is important from the individual’s perspective. Home-care is becoming more common in patients with HF. Therefore it is important to describe HF patient’s experiences of participation within home-care.
heart failure; participation; home-care; qualitative methods
An increasing number of older people reach the end of life in care homes. The aim of this study is to explore the perceived benefits of, and barriers to, implementation of the Gold Standards Framework for Care Homes (GSFCH), a quality improvement programme in palliative care.
Nine care homes involved in the GSFCH took part. We conducted semi-structured interviews with nine care home managers, eight nurses, nine care assistants, eleven residents and seven of their family members. We used the Framework approach to qualitative analysis. The analysis was deductive based on the key tasks of the GSFCH, the 7Cs: communication, coordination, control of symptoms, continuity, continued learning, carer support, and care of the dying. This enabled us to consider benefits of, and barriers to, individual components of the programme, as well as of the programme as a whole.
Perceived benefits of the GSFCH included: improved symptom control and team communication; finding helpful external support and expertise; increasing staff confidence; fostering residents' choice; and boosting the reputation of the home. Perceived barriers included: increased paperwork; lack of knowledge and understanding of end of life care; costs; and gaining the cooperation of GPs. Many of the tools and tasks in the GSFCH focus on improving communication. Participants described effective communication within the homes, and with external providers such as general practitioners and specialists in palliative care. However, many had experienced problems with general practitioners. Although staff described the benefits of supportive care registers, coding predicted stage of illness and advance care planning, which included improved communication, some felt the need for more experience of using these, and there were concerns about discussing death.
Most of the barriers described by participants are relevant to other interventions to improve end of life care in care homes. There is a need to investigate the impact of quality improvement programmes in care homes, such as the GSFCH, on a wider range of outcomes for residents and their families, and to monitor the sustainability of any resulting improvements. It is also important to explore the impact of the different components of these complex interventions.
Transitions often occur suddenly and can be traumatic to both patients with advanced disease and their families. The purpose of this study was to explore the transition experience of older rural persons with advanced cancer and their families from the perspective of palliative home care patients, bereaved family caregivers, and health care professionals. The specific aims were to: (1) describe the experience of significant transitions experienced by older rural persons who were receiving palliative home care and their families and (2) develop a substantive theory of transitions in this population.
Using a grounded theory approach, 27 open-ended individual audio-taped interviews were conducted with six older rural persons with advanced cancer and 10 bereaved family caregivers. Four focus group interviews were conducted with 12 palliative care health care professionals. All interviews were transcribed verbatim, coded, and analyzed using Charmaz's constructivist grounded theory approach.
Within a rural context of isolation, lack of information and limited accessibility to services, and values of individuality and community connectedness, older rural palliative patients and their families experienced multiple complex transitions in environment, roles/relationships, activities of daily living, and physical and mental health. Transitions disrupted the lives of palliative patients and their caregivers, resulting in distress and uncertainty. Rural palliative patients and their families adapted to transitions through the processes of "Navigating Unknown Waters". This tentative theory includes processes of coming to terms with their situation, connecting, and redefining normal. Timely communication, provision of information and support networks facilitated the processes.
The emerging theory provides a foundation for future research. Significant transitions identified in this study may serve as a focus for improving delivery of palliative and end of life care in rural areas. Improved understanding of the transitions experienced by advanced cancer palliative care patients and their families, as well as the psychological processes involved in adapting to the transitions, will help health care providers address the unique needs of this vulnerable population.
We aimed to describe the perceptions of health care providers concerning patient and health care provider strategies to limit out-of-pocket costs for cancer care.
We conducted semi-structured interviews with 21 cancer care providers (nurses, social workers, oncologists, surgeons, pharmacists, and dieticians) in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Patients try to minimize costs by substituting or rationing medications, choosing radical treatments, lengthening the time between follow-up appointments, choosing inpatient care, and working during treatment to minimize loss of income. Providers respond to the financial concerns of patients by helping them to access financial assistance programs, by changing chemotherapy and supportive drug prescriptions, and by shortening radiation treatment protocols. They admit patients to hospital and arrange follow-up with physicians closer to a patient’s home.
Out-of-pocket costs resulting from cancer care are incurred at all phases of treatment and follow-up. These costs are substantial concerns for some patients and their health care providers. Encouraging communication between patients and their providers is needed to identify individuals at risk and to safely modify care plans. Tele-oncology and public drug, medical travel, and leave programs are needed to ensure that patients are better able to afford the costs related to cancer care.
Costs; financial burden; affordability; cancer care; rural
There are diverse descriptions of supportive activities in nursing to be found in the literature. What they have in common is their association with good care outcomes, but they may differ depending on the context in which the care is given. In a Swedish municipal elderly care setting, registered nurses (RN) work in a consultative way and they describe a part of their tasks as comprising supportive activities without specifying what kind of supportive activities they mean. The aim of the study was to explore the main concern of the support given by RN to a group of patients in an elderly home care setting. The study was conducted using Grounded Theory. Data were collected using nonparticipant observations regarding the supportive activities of 12 RN at the home of 36 patients between the ages of 80 and 102. Most of the home visit lasted about 40 min but some lasted for 90 min. The central category was about dealing with daily emotions. This was done by encouraging the situation and reducing the patient's limitations, but situations also occurred in which there was a gap of support. Support was about capturing the emotions that the patient expressed for a particular moment, but there were also situations in which RN chose not to give support. To develop a holistic eldercare, more knowledge is needed about the factors causing the RN to choose not to provide support on some occasions.
Support; maintaining wellness; municipal care; the elderly
Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are the main cause for hospitalisation. These hospitalisations result in a high pressure on hospital beds and high health care costs. Because of the increasing prevalence of COPD this will only become worse. Hospital at home is one of the alternatives that has been proved to be a safe alternative for hospitalisation in COPD. Most schemes are early assisted discharge schemes with specialised respiratory nurses providing care at home. Whether this type of service is cost-effective depends on the setting in which it is delivered and the way in which it is organised.
GO AHEAD (Assessment Of Going Home under Early Assisted Discharge) is a 3-months, randomised controlled, multi-centre clinical trial. Patients admitted to hospital for a COPD exacerbation are either discharged on the fourth day of admission and further treated at home, or receive usual inpatient hospital care. Home treatment is supervised by general nurses. Primary outcome is the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of an early assisted discharge intervention in comparison with usual inpatient hospital care for patients hospitalised with a COPD exacerbation. Secondary outcomes include effects on quality of life, primary informal caregiver burden and patient and primary caregiver satisfaction. Additionally, a discrete choice experiment is performed to provide insight in patient and informal caregiver preferences for different treatment characteristics. Measurements are performed on the first day of admission and 3 days, 7 days, 1 month and 3 months thereafter. Ethical approval has been obtained and the study has been registered.
This article describes the study protocol of the GO AHEAD study. Early assisted discharge could be an effective and cost-effective method to reduce length of hospital stay in the Netherlands which is beneficial for patients and society. If effectiveness and cost-effectiveness can be proven, implementation in the Dutch health care system should be considered.
Netherlands Trial Register NTR1129.
Although nursing personnel have used personal digital assistants (PDAs) to support home health care services for the past ten years, little is known about their experiences. This study was conducted to examine experiences of nursing personnel using a specialized home health care computer software application called Gerica. In addition, this research analyzed how well this application aligned with the workflow of the nursing personnel in their daily care of patients. The evaluation methods included user observations and learnability testing. Nursing personnel from two different municipalities were observed while performing real tasks in natural settings. This study shows that the nursing personnel were satisfied with the PDA user interface and the Gerica software; however, they identified areas for improvement. For example, the nursing personnel were concerned about trusting the reliability of the PDA in order to eliminate the need for handwritten documentation. Solutions to meet these shortcomings for nursing managers and vendors are discussed.
The patient-nurse relationship is a traditional concern of healthcare research. However, patient-nurse interaction is under examined from a social perspective. Current research focuses mostly on specific contexts of care delivery and experience related to medical condition or illness, or to nurses’ speciality. Consequentially, this paper is about the social meanings and understandings at play within situated patient-nurse interaction in the community practice setting in a transforming healthcare service.
Grounded theory methodology was used and the research process was characterised by principles of theoretical sensitivity and constant comparative analysis. The field of study was four health centres in the community. The participants were patients and nurses representative of those attending or working in the health centres and meeting there by scheduled appointment. Data collection methods were observations, informal interviews and semi-structured interviews.
Key properties of ‘Being a good patient, being a good nurse’, ‘Institutional experiences’ and ‘Expectations about healthcare’ were associated with the construction of a category entitled ‘Experience’. Those key properties captured that in an evolving healthcare environment individuals continually re-constructed their reality of being a patient or nurse as they endeavoured to perform appropriately; articulation of past and present healthcare experiences was important in that process. Modus operandi in role as patient was influenced by past experiences in healthcare and by those in non-healthcare institutions in terms of engagement and involvement (or not) in interaction. Patients’ expectations about interaction in healthcare included some uncertainly as they strived to make sense of the changing roles and expertise of nurses and, differentiating between the roles and expertise of nurses and doctors.
The importance of social meanings and understandings in patient-nurse interaction is not fully apparent to nurses, but important in the patient experience. Seeking understanding from a social perspective makes a contribution to enhancing knowledge about patient-nurse interaction with subsequent impact on practice, in particular the development of the patient-nurse relationship. The implications are that the meanings and understandings patients and nurses generate from experiences beyond and within their situated interaction are pivotal to the development of their relationship in the transforming community healthcare environment.
Improving the transfer of medication information between home care nurses and patient’s general practitioners (GP) is assessed as essential for ensuring safe care. In this paper, we report on a Norwegian study in which we investigated how home care nurses experienced using standardised electronic messages in their communication with the GPs. Standardised electronic solutions were developed and implemented to resolve gaps in the medication information processes when patients received nursing care in their homes. Data was collected combining focus group interviews and individual interviews with nurses from home care in two municipalities in Norway. The data was analysed using systematic text condensation. We found that the nurses reported mostly advantages, but also some disadvantages regarding accuracy, consistency, availability and efficiency in the medication information process when they used standardised electronic messages. Efforts to refine the electronic messages to achieve better work processes and patient safety should be addressed.
Spouses' involvement in palliative care is often a prerequisite for home death, but it is unclear whether active involvement of the spouse, e.g. administering and being in charge of oral or subcutaneous medication or taking care of the patient's personal hygiene, could be harmful or have negative effects on the spouse's experience of the palliative course of disease. The aim of this study was to explore the impact of bereaved spouses' active involvement in medical and physical care on their experience of the palliative course of disease.
The study was a qualitative, descriptive study based on semi-structured individual interviews with seven bereaved spouses.
Four main categories were found: Degree of involvement, Positive and Negative impact and Prerequisites. The prerequisites found for a positive outcome were Safety (24-hour back-up), Confidence (Professionals' confidence in the spouses' abilities) and Dialog (Spouses' influence on decision-making and being asked).
The results from this study identified important issues whenever spouses take an active part in medical treatment and physical care of critically ill patients in palliative care. The results question the previous research that active involvement of family care givers could be harmful and add preconditions to a positive outcome. More research into these preconditions is needed.