This episode features Professor Liz Forbat (Australian Catholic University, Canberra, ACT, Australia) and Rachel Bilton-Simek (Calvary Public Hospital Bruce, Canberra, ACT, Australia). Together they describe a Single-arm mixed-method feasibility proof-of-concept trial which aimed to design and test an innovative distance-learning educational package (PrECEPt: PalliativE Caregivers Education Package).
The study determined that distance learning is acceptable and feasible for both caregivers and healthcare professionals. Two modules were developed and tested (nutrition/hydration and pain management) with 18 caregivers. The materials did not have a statistically significant impact on carer self-efficacy. However, statistically significant improvements were observed on the two subsidiary measures of (1) caregiving tasks, consequences and needs (p = 0.03, confidence interval: 0.72, 9.4) and (2) caregiver preparedness (p = 0.001, confidence interval: −1.22, −0.46).
In conclusion the findings demonstrates education improves caregiver preparedness and is a feasible and acceptable approach. Full paper available from: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0269216317712849
This episode features the work of Philippa Cahill et al (School of Medicine, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney, NSW, Australia) who describes a systematic review that examines the evidence supporting family meetings as a strategy to address the needs of palliative patients and their families.
The authors found that there was low-level evidence to support family meetings. Only two quantitative pre- and post-studies used a validated palliative care family outcome measure with both studies reporting significant results post-family meetings. Four other quantitative studies reported significant results using non-validated measures.
In conclusion the findings demonstrates that there is a paucity of evidence to support family meetings in the inpatient palliative care setting. Further research using more robust designs, validated outcome measures, and an economic analysis are required to build the family meeting evidence before they are routinely adopted into clinical practice. Full paper available from: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi10.1177/0269216316658833
This episode features the work of Professor David Currow et al (Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia) who describes a study which aimed to compare characteristics, expressed unmet needs and outcomes for spousal caregivers, with other caregivers at the end of life, by gender and age. The study used data from The South Australian Health Omnibus (an annual, random, face-to-face, cross-sectional survey wherein respondents are asked about end-of-life care). The authors found that bereaved spousal caregivers were more likely to be older, female, better educated, have lower incomes, less full-time work, English as second language, sought help with grief and provided more day-to-day care for longer periods. Spousal caregivers were less likely to be willing to take on caregiving again, less able to ‘move on’ with life and needed greater emotional support and information about illness and services. In conclusion, spousal caregivers are different from other caregivers, with more intense needs that are not fully met. Full paper available from: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269216316663855?journalCode=pmja