Palliative Care

PV QA 3 - Poster Viewing Q&A 3

TU_31_3042 - Documentation and considerations for informal caregivers to end of life patients

Tuesday, October 23
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Location: Innovation Hub, Exhibit Hall 3

Documentation and considerations for informal caregivers to end of life patients
C. Lee1, and J. C. Wong2; 1Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2Stronach/ Southlake Regional Cancer Centre/ Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada

Informal caregivers support patients with their emotional, instrumental, daily activities and medical needs. Such needs intensify with worsening functional status at the end of life. A substantial amount of research has been done to explore needs of, and support for both the patients and the informal support persons, but limited research was found on how informal support is captured and integrated in interprofessional patient care teams.

Purpose/Objective(s): To describe how informal support is documented, communicated and considered by healthcare providers in palliative cancer care setting.

Materials/Methods: A mixed-methodology pilot study employing retrospective chart review, survey questionnaire to patients and providers was used to address study objective at one supportive care clinic in Toronto, Canada. Study variables included: the frequency and timing of obtaining information about informal caregivers, location of documenting and obtaining information about informal support. A total of 30 chart reviews, 20 patient surveys, and 6 provider surveys were completed. Descriptive statistics and non-parametric tests were used to analyse study data.

Results: Preliminary data showed that physicians took a key role in inquiring and documenting informal support (IS). Most patients reported nurses also asked the question but from our chart review, nursing documentation of IS was not found as frequently as physician’s documentation. Also, while 50% of provider participants felt that IS should be an ongoing assessment, our chart review and patient survey results showed that IS was asked at the first visit and when patient condition or treatment changes. Lastly, IS was not being documented consistently as it is found in several places in each patient’s medical record and participants did not offer a consistent response in the provider surveys.

Conclusion: While all participants agreed that IS is important to consider in this population, inconsistency of practice in communicating IS needs to be addressed to facilitate a team-based approach to support both patients and their informal caregivers. Recommendations for future practice will be discussed.

Author Disclosure: C. Lee: None. J.C. Wong: None.

Charlotte Lee, PhD, OCN, RN

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