Article

Palliative care Needs Rounds in rural residential aged care: A mixed-methods study exploring experiences and perceptions of staff and general practitioners

Citation

Rainsford S, Johnston N, Liu W, Glasgow N & Forbat L (2020) Palliative care Needs Rounds in rural residential aged care: A mixed-methods study exploring experiences and perceptions of staff and general practitioners. Progress in Palliative Care, 28 (5), pp. 308-317. https://doi.org/10.1080/09699260.2019.1698177

Abstract
New approaches are needed to assist residential aged care (RAC) staff increase their skills and confidence in identifying when residents are nearing the dying phase and managing symptoms. One new evidence-based approach to improve palliative and end-of-life care in RAC is outreach Specialist Palliative Care Needs Rounds (monthly triage and risk stratification meetings – hereafter Needs Rounds); as yet untried in rural settings which may face unique enablers or challenges. Needs Rounds were introduced into two RAC facilities in the rural Snowy Monaro region of New South Wales, Australia. This study explored staff and general practitioners’(GPs’) experiences and perceptions of palliative and end-of-life care in rural RAC, and staff confidence and capability in providing such care, prior to, and after the introduction of Needs Rounds. A mixed-methods, pre- and post-intervention approach was taken, utilizing a Likert-scale written questionnaire and face-to-face semi-structured interviews. Between March and November 2018, 61 questionnaires were completed by 48 RAC staff (33 pre-, 28 post-intervention); eight staff and three GPs were interviewed. Despite system and site-specific barriers, staff self-reported that Needs Rounds increased their capability in providing end-of-life care (p = 0.04; 95% CI 0.20–7.66), and improved staff: (1) awareness of end of life, reflective practice, and critical thinking; (2) end-of-life decision making and planning; and (3) pain management. Needs Rounds are acceptable and feasible in rural RAC. Palliative and end-of-life care for residents may be improved through education, collaboration, communication, and planning. Further studies should explore running Needs Rounds via telehealth and/or utilizing a multidisciplinary approach.

Keywords
Homes for the aged; palliative care; end of life care; older persons; goals of care; Needs Rounds; mixed methods research

Journal
Progress in Palliative Care: Volume 28, Issue 5

StatusPublished
Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online31/12/2019
Date accepted by journal22/11/2019
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/30586
ISSN0969-9260
eISSN1743-291X