Australian residential aged care home staff experiences of implementing an intervention to improve palliative and end-of-life care for residents: A qualitative study.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Health Soc Care Community, 2022
Issue Date:
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Access to high-quality and safe evidence-based palliative care (PC) is important to ensure good end-of-life care for older people in residential aged care homes (RACHs). However, many barriers to providing PC in RACHs are frequently cited. The Quality End-of-Life Care (QEoLC) Project was a multicomponent intervention that included training, evidence-based tools and tele-mentoring, aiming to equip healthcare professionals and careworkers in RACHs with knowledge, skills and confidence in providing PC to residents. This study aims to understand: (1) the experiences of healthcare professionals, careworkers, care managers, planners/implementers who participated in the implementation of the QEoLC Project; and (2) the barriers and facilitators to the implementation. Staff from two RACHs in New South Wales, Australia were recruited between September to November 2021. Semi-structured interviews and thematic data analysis were used. Fifteen participants (seven health professionals [includes one nurse, two clinical educators, three workplace trainers, one clinical manager/nurse], three careworkers and five managers) were interviewed. Most RACH participants agreed that the QEoLC Project increased their awareness of PC and provided them with the skills/confidence to openly discuss death and dying. Participants perceived that the components of the QEoLC Project had the following benefits for residents: more appropriate use of medications, initiation of timely pain management and discussions with families regarding end-of-life care preferences. Key facilitators for implementation were the role of champions, the role of the steering committee, regular clinical meetings to discuss at-risk residents and mentoring. Implementation barriers included: high staff turnover, COVID-19 pandemic, time constraints, perceived absence of executive sponsorship, lack of practical support and systems-related barriers. The findings underline the need for strong leadership, supportive organisational culture and commitment to the implementation of processes for improving the quality of end-of-life care. Furthermore, the results highlight the need for codesigning the intervention with RACHs, provision of dedicated staff/resources to support implementation, and integration of project tools with existing systems for achieving effective implementation outcomes.
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