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      “I’m going to push this door open. You can close it”: A qualitative study of the brokering work of oncology clinic nurses in introducing early palliative care

      1 , 2 , 3 , 2 , 2 , 2 , 4 , 2 , 4 , 5

      Palliative Medicine

      SAGE Publications

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          Abstract

          Background:

          Early palliative care improves quality of life during life-prolonging treatment for patients with cancer, but the role of nurses in facilitating the early involvement of palliative care is unclear.

          Aim:

          To conceptualize the psychosocial processes involved in the introduction and provision of palliative care by oncology nurses.

          Design:

          A constructivist qualitative grounded theory study was conducted.

          Setting/participants:

          A total of 20 nurses (6 staff nurses, 10 nurse practitioners, and 4 advanced practice nurses) completed semi-structured interviews. Participants were from multiple ambulatory care oncology clinics (i.e. breast, pancreatic, hematology) in a comprehensive cancer center.

          Results:

          The core category, brokering palliative care, represented the overarching concept of the study that linked other subcategories. The other subcategories were as follows: opening the door—creating the possibility of discussing early palliative care at a time when patients show signs of being receptive to this discussion; building trust—establishing relationships with patients as a starting point for open discussions about palliative care; tackling misconceptions—addressing patients’ assumptions about palliative care as signifying death; and advocating with oncologists—seeding the process of referral by bringing patients’ concerns forward.

          Conclusion:

          Oncology nurses play a central role in “brokering” the introduction of early palliative care; this process is supported by their relational proximity to patients and their location “in between” the patient and the oncologist. Training all nurses in palliative care and empowering them to have proactive discussions in a collaborative practice context would allow greater access to early palliative care.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Member Checking

          The trustworthiness of results is the bedrock of high quality qualitative research. Member checking, also known as participant or respondent validation, is a technique for exploring the credibility of results. Data or results are returned to participants to check for accuracy and resonance with their experiences. Member checking is often mentioned as one in a list of validation techniques. This simplistic reporting might not acknowledge the value of using the method, nor its juxtaposition with the interpretative stance of qualitative research. In this commentary, we critique how member checking has been used in published research, before describing and evaluating an innovative in-depth member checking technique, Synthesized Member Checking. The method was used in a study with patients diagnosed with melanoma. Synthesized Member Checking addresses the co-constructed nature of knowledge by providing participants with the opportunity to engage with, and add to, interview and interpreted data, several months after their semi-structured interview.
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            Effect of early palliative care on chemotherapy use and end-of-life care in patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer.

            Prior research shows that introducing palliative care soon after diagnosis for patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is associated with improvements in quality of life, mood, and survival. We sought to investigate whether early palliative care also affects the frequency and timing of chemotherapy use and hospice care for these patients. This secondary analysis is based on a randomized controlled trial of 151 patients with newly diagnosed metastatic NSCLC presenting to an outpatient clinic at a tertiary cancer center from June 2006 to July 2009. Participants received either early palliative care integrated with standard oncology care or standard oncology care alone. By 18-month follow-up, 133 participants (88.1%) had died. Outcome measures included: first, number and types of chemotherapy regimens, and second, frequency and timing of chemotherapy administration and hospice referral. The overall number of chemotherapy regimens did not differ significantly by study group. However, compared with those in the standard care group, participants receiving early palliative care had half the odds of receiving chemotherapy within 60 days of death (odds ratio, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.23 to 0.99; P = .05), a longer interval between the last dose of intravenous chemotherapy and death (median, 64.00 days [range, 3 to 406 days] v 40.50 days [range, 6 to 287 days]; P = .02), and higher enrollment in hospice care for longer than 1 week (60.0% [36 of 60 patients] v 33.3% [21 of 63 patients]; P = .004). Although patients with metastatic NSCLC received similar numbers of chemotherapy regimens in the sample, early palliative care optimized the timing of final chemotherapy administration and transition to hospice services, key measures of quality end-of-life care.
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              Integrating supportive and palliative care in the trajectory of cancer: establishing goals and models of care.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Palliative Medicine
                Palliat Med
                SAGE Publications
                0269-2163
                1477-030X
                October 29 2019
                October 29 2019
                : 026921631988398
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
                [2 ]Department of Supportive Care, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada
                [3 ]Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada
                [4 ]Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
                [5 ]Divisions of Palliative Medicine and Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
                Article
                10.1177/0269216319883980
                © 2019

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