The Perspectives of Health Care Professionals on Providing End of Life Care and Palliative Care for Patients With Chronic Heart Failure: An Integrative Review

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Journal Article
Heart Lung and Circulation, 2019, 28 (4), pp. 539 - 552
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© 2018 Australian and New Zealand Society of Cardiac and Thoracic Surgeons (ANZSCTS) and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ) Background: Chronic heart failure is a complex and multifaceted syndrome characterised by an unpredictable trajectory, high symptom burden and reduced quality of life. Although palliative care is recommended, patient, provider and system factors limit access. Aim: To examine the knowledge, attitudes and perspectives of health care professionals towards end of life care and palliative care for patients with chronic heart failure. Design: This is an integrative review. Data sources: CINAHL, Academic Search Complete and SCOPUS were searched. Specific inclusion criteria and search terms were used. The integrative review method entailed analysing data from primary articles using the constant comparison method and then synthesising data. Results: Twenty-six (26) articles were selected that explored health care professionals’ perspectives towards end of life care and palliative care. The categories that emerged were grouped into patient, provider and system issues. Most health care professionals involved in providing care to heart failure patients have misperceptions of palliative care, often confusing it with end of life and hospice care. This hinders patients’ access to palliative care as determining the end of life period in heart failure is difficult. Conclusions: Exploring health care professionals’ perspectives towards the delivery of end of life care and palliative care is important for understanding how their practice influences the delivery of palliative care for heart failure patients. Emphasis on increasing awareness of the principles of palliative care in the health care community, as well as addressing organisational issues will improve the care delivered to these patients.
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