I know I am not going to get better: Palliative care needs of patients with a non-cancer diagnosis: exploring the issues

D. Mullan, Donna Fitzsimons, J. Kapur

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Introduction: Cancer has traditionally been
associated with a terminal outcome. However as
medical advances improve, many patients with
non-malignancy are reaching a terminal phase in
their disease trajectory. Evidence suggests that
the palliative care needs of such patients are
inadequate (Ellershaw, 2001). Specialist nurses
expressed concern over the lack of evidence and
services available for such patients.

Aim: The aim was to explore the palliative care
needs of patients with a non-cancer diagnosis.

Method: A qualitative case study approach was
selected (Parahoo, 1997). A purposive sample of
18 patients with diagnosis of end-stage respiratory
disease, heart failure or renal disease was selected.
Separate in-depth interviews were conducted with
the patient and a nominated carer, and a focus group
was conducted with the clinical team of each patient.
Data was analysed using Collaizzi’s approach (1978).
Results: Despite the variety of illnesses patients
had similar palliative care needs. Nine key themes
emerged to describe this phenomenon. These
were deteriorating health, decreased dependence,
social isolation, family burden, personal resources,
acceptance, depression, access to community
services and future concerns. Each theme will be
described in detail and links between themes will
be developed.

Conclusion: The results confirm that current
healthcare packages are inadequate for this
population. Commonalities between the chronic
illness groups were identified and patient’s
concerns were shared by their carers, who often
felt unsupported in their role. Clinical teams were
aware of the limitations in the service they provided.
This research identifies a need for a new model of
care to meet these patients’ needs. Cognisance of
this data may assist health professionals to meet
the palliative care needs of these patients more
appropriately.
Original languageEnglish
Pages126-126
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventThe 2005 Royal College of Nursing International Nursing Research Conference - Europa Hotel and Spires Conference Centre , Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 08 Mar 200511 Mar 2005

Conference

ConferenceThe 2005 Royal College of Nursing International Nursing Research Conference
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityBelfast
Period08/03/200511/03/2005

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