A Qualitative Exploration of Perceived Key Knowledge and Skills in End-of-Life Care in Dementia Patients among Medical, Nursing, and Pharmacy Students

Christopher M. Nguyen, Bannin De Witt Jansen, Carmel M. Hughes, Wendy Rasmussen, Michelle T. Weckmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The steady increase in the number of people living and dying with dementia, coupled with the recent focus on quality of care, has highlighted the importance of dementia training for health care professionals. This exploratory study aimed to discover which skills health care students felt were important in providing quality end-of-life care to dementia patients.

Methods: Ninety-four medicine, nursing, and pharmacy students participated in a larger study using open-ended and closed questions to explore attitudes related to caring for dementia patients at the end of life. This study looks at the student responses to an open-ended question regarding the skills and knowledge they believe are needed to provide end-of-life care to dementia patients. Individual responses were reviewed by the researchers, coded into key issues, and tabulated for frequency of occurrences and group differences.

Results: Several common issues emerged: knowledge, patience, empathy, understanding, family involvement, compassion, medication knowledge, respect/patient autonomy, communication, quality of life, and patient education. Significant differences were observed among the participant groups on the following issues: Patience and understanding (pharmacy students mentioned these issues less frequently than medical and nursing students), compassion (medical students mentioned this issue more frequently than pharmacy students), and medication knowledge (pharmacy students mentioned this issue more frequently than medical and nursing students).

Conclusions: Different health care disciplines (in-training) value different skill sets for the provision of dementia care at the end-of-life. As health care education for dementia patients at the end of life is expanded, it will be important to understand which skills both patients and health care students value.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-61
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Volume18
Issue number1
Early online date27 Jun 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 02 Jan 2015

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