Saturday, September 20, 2014
Long-Term Care Staff Hospice Attitudes (Research, Video 1:33)
As a hospice volunteer in nursing homes, I knew that the quality of life residents experienced depended largely on the context in which it was given. By context, I mean the staff, training, resources available, and everything else involved in the healthcare process. Concerning hospice patients, it is important that long-term care staff members understand and respect the difference between curative and non-curative care and operate appropriately in caregiving patients. Some staff members may have difficulty making that paradigm shift and interfere with the natural dying process. Staff members‘ beliefs about dying and palliative care can impact residents’ care.
Long-term care staff research on beliefs, values, and attitudes about death, dying, and palliative care was done to identify any differences among various job categories and places of work at five facilities. Participants included 1,170 volunteers, clinical managers, and all categories of residential long-term care workers. Healthcare workers generally had positive attitudes toward more than half of the selected aspects of interdisciplinary practice and end-of-life palliative care for residents. Unfortunately, these were the negatives:
1) Attitudes were more mixed about ten other aspects and a higher percentage of respondents indicated negative attitudes toward them.
2) There were significant differences between upper-level professionals and managers (registered nurses, physicians, rehabilitation staff, and clinical managers) vs. the hands-on caregivers (nursing assistants, patient assistants, and volunteers) with regard to some aspects of caregiving the dying.
These results indicate the necessity of knowing and addressing healthcare workers’ beliefs about death and dying in the context of quality residential care in long-term care facilities. Patient assistants, volunteers, and nursing assistants can especially benefit from more ongoing training and monitoring.
This video features interviews with hospice team members who explain how hospice should work in long-term care facilities.
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.