Instruments for evaluating end-of-life care by voicing experiences of family members have previously been lacking in Sweden. The objective of this study was therefore to adapt and validate the VOICES (SF) questionnaire to evaluate quality of end-of-life care in Sweden. The VOICES (SF) [Views of Informal Carers - Evaluation of Services (Short form)] is a questionnaire about bereaved relatives' experiences of care in the last three months of life of a deceased family member.
This study was performed based on translation and back translation, cross-cultural adaptation and content validation through cognitive interviewing and feedback from professional experts. For the cognitive interviews, a purposeful sample of 35 bereaved family members was recruited from home care, hospital wards and nursing homes. The participants were 13 men and 22 women (age ranged between 20 and 90+, mean age 66), who were relatives of persons who died from life-limiting conditions. The bereaved family members' and the professional experts' concerns were summarised and analysed based on clarity, understanding, relevance, sensitivity and alternative response/wording.
The main concerns emerging from the content validation related to the understanding and clarity of some of the questionnaire items', and a few concerns regarding the relevance of different response alternatives or items. Only two of the family members found it emotional to complete the questionnaire, and they still deemed completing it to be important and manageable.
The VOICES (SF) can be considered as feasible in the Swedish context, provided that cultural adaptation has been achieved, that is translation alone is not enough. The Swedish version will be available for healthcare professionals to use for quality monitoring of the care provided over the last three months in life, and for research, it enables national and cross-national comparisons between different healthcare places and organisations.
Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society/Division of Social Work, Karolinska Institutet, 141 83, Huddinge, Sweden; Department of Health Care Sciences/Palliative Research Centre, Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Box 11189, 100 61, Stockholm, Sweden; Function Area in Social Work and Health, Karolinska University Hospital, 171 76, Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The knowledge about young adults who have lost a parent to cancer is limited, and to reach a broader understanding about this group, this study used the Dual Process Model of Coping with Bereavement (Stroebe and Schut, 1999) as a theoretical framework. The purpose of this study was to describe loss- and restoration-oriented bereavement stressors and psychosocial wellbeing of young adults following the loss of a parent to cancer.
This survey used baseline data from a longitudinal study. Young adults, aged 16-28 years, who lost a parent to cancer more than two months earlier and agreed to participate in support groups held at three palliative care services in Sweden, responded to a comprehensive theory-based study-specific questionnaire.
Altogether, 77 young adults (64 women and 13 men) answered the questionnaire an average of five-to-eight months after the loss. Twenty percent (n?=?15) had not been aware of their parent's impending death at all or only knew a few hours before the death, and 65% (n?=?50) did not expect the death when it occurred. The young adults reported low self-esteem (n?=?58, 76%), mild to severe anxiety (n?=?55, 74%), mild to severe depression (n?=?23, 31%) and low life satisfaction.
Young adults reported overall poor psychosocial wellbeing following bereavement. The unexpectedness and unawareness of the parent's imminent death, i.e., loss-oriented bereavement stressors, might influence psychosocial wellbeing. Despite these reports, restoration-oriented stressors, such as support from family and friends, helped them to cope with the loss.
Although there has been a steady increase in intervention studies aimed toward supporting family caregivers in palliative cancer care, they often report modest effect sizes and there is a lack of knowledge about possible barriers to intervention effectiveness.
The aim of this study is to explore the characteristics of family caregivers who did not benefit from a successful psychoeducational group intervention compared with the characteristics of those who did.
A psychoeducational intervention for family caregivers was delivered at 10 palliative settings in Sweden. Questionnaires were used to collect data at baseline and following the intervention. The Preparedness for Caregiving Scale was the main outcome for the study and was used to decide whether or not the family caregiver had benefited from the intervention (Preparedness for Caregiving Scale difference score = 0 vs = 1).
A total of 82 family caregivers completed the intervention and follow-up. Caregivers who did not benefit from the intervention had significantly higher ratings of their preparedness and competence for caregiving and their health at baseline compared with the group who benefited. They also experienced lower levels of environmental burden and a trend toward fewer symptoms of depression.
Family caregivers who did not benefit from the intervention tended to be less vulnerable at baseline. Hence, the potential to improve their ratings was smaller than for the group who did benefit.
Determining family caregivers in cancer and palliative care who are more likely to benefit from an intervention needs to be explored further in research.
Children show long-term psychological distress if family communication and illness-related information are poor during and after a parent's illness and death. Few psychosocial interventions for families with minor children living with a parent who has a life-threatening illness have been evaluated rigorously. Even fewer interventions have been family-centered. One exception is the Family Talk Intervention (FTI), which has shown promising results regarding increased illness-related knowledge and improved family communication. However, FTI has not yet been evaluated in palliative care. This study therefore aimed to explore the potential effects of FTI from the perspectives of minor children whose parent is cared for in specialized palliative home care.
This pilot intervention study involves questionnaire and interview data collected from children after participation in FTI. Families were recruited from two specialized palliative home care units. To be included, families must include one parent with life-threatening illness, at least one child aged 6-19?years, and understand and speak Swedish. Twenty families with a total of 34 children participated in FTI; 23 children answered the questionnaire, and 22 were interviewed after participation.
The children reported that FTI increased their knowledge about their parents' illness. They said the interventionist helped them to handle school-related problems, establish professional counselling, and find strength to maintain everyday life. Children aged 8-12 reported that talking with their parents became easier after FTI, whereas communication was unchanged for teenagers and between siblings. Children also reported having been helped to prepare for the future, and that they benefitted from advice about how to maintain everyday life and minimize conflicts within the family.
Children who participated in FTI reported that it was helpful in many ways, providing illness-related information and improving family communication when a parent has a life-threatening illness. Other potential positive effects reported by the children were that FTI facilitated their preparation for the future, decreased family conflicts, and started to build up resilience.
ClinicalTrials.gov, Identifier NCT03119545, retrospectively registered 18 April 2017.
Being a family caregiver for a person with Parkinson's disease (PD) can negatively impact health and wellbeing, but it appears less clear to what extent caregivers' health/social service needs are met.
We explored the extent to which PD family caregivers experience sufficient access to health/social services, as compared to age-matched controls; and the associations between this and demographic and health-related variables.
A cross-sectional survey of 66 PD family caregivers and 79 age-matched control subjects including the SF-36 health survey, the Nottingham Health Profile Sleep section (NHP-Sleep), and questions regarding contacts with various health/social related services and whether these were perceived as sufficient.
People reporting insufficient access (n?=?29) were more often PD family caregivers than controls (83% vs. 37%), did more often have a disease of their own (79% vs. 46%), and reported poorer health according to the SF-36 and the NHP-Sleep. Being a PD family caregiver (OR, 8.90), reporting more pain (OR, 1.02) and having an own disease (OR, 3.46) were independently associated with insufficient health/social service access.
Our results imply that those in greatest need for health/social services (i.e., those with poorer health, an own disease, and who are PD family caregivers) are those whose health/social service needs are least met. Larger studies are needed for firmer conclusions and regarding how unmet health/social service needs impacts caregiver health and wellbeing. Health/social service providers should not only focus on patients but also consider their family members' needs.
The loss of a parent to cancer is considered one of the most traumatic events a teenager can experience. Studies have shown that teenagers, from the time of diagnosis, are already extremely worried about the consequences of a parent's cancer but tend to be left to manage these concerns on their own. The present study aimed to explore young adults' advice to healthcare professionals on how to support teenagers who are losing a parent to cancer.
This work derives from a Swedish nationwide survey and employs a qualitative approach with a descriptive/interpretive design to obtain answers to an open-ended question concerning advice to healthcare professionals. Of the 851 eligible young adults who had lost a parent to cancer when they were 13-16 years of age within the previous 6 to 9 years, 622 participated in our survey (response rate = 73%). Of these 622 young adults, 481 responded to the open-ended question about what advice to give healthcare professionals.
Four themes emerged: (1) to be seen and acknowledged; (2) to understand and prepare for illness, treatment, and the impending death; (3) to spend time with the ill parent, and (4) to receive support tailored to the individual teenager's needs.
This nationwide study contributes hands-on suggestions to healthcare staff regarding attitudes, communication, and support from the perspective of young adults who, in their teenage years, lost a parent to cancer. Teenagers may feel better supported during a parent's illness if healthcare professionals take this manageable advice forward into practice and see each teenager as individuals; explain the disease, its treatments, and consequences; encourage teenagers to spend time with their ill parent; and recommend sources of support.
Professional leadership has been highlighted as an important part of successful intervention delivery. The aim of this study is to explore the narratives of nurses involved in leading a group intervention for family caregivers in palliative care. Nurses were interviewed about their experiences as group leaders in a psycho-educational group intervention, which was delivered at 10 specialised palliative home care settings, with the help of an intervention manual. Data were analysed with interpretive descriptive methodology. Three themes were identified in the analysis: embracing the leading role, developing qualities as a group leader, and professional and personal development. The results showed that the role as group leader initially was a challenge for the nurses, but that they gradually were able to develop the professional and personal skills that were required. The nurses believed that their profession was best suited to lead this kind of supportive intervention.
The McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire - Expanded (MQOL-E) and the Quality of Life in Life-Threatening Illness-Family Carer/Caregiver version (QOLLTI-F) are developed for use with patients facing the end of life and their family carers, respectively. They are also developed for possible use as companion instruments. Contemporary measurement validity theory places emphasis on response processes, i.e. what people feel and think when responding to items. Response processes may be affected when measurement instruments are translated and adapted for use in different cultures. The aim of this study was to translate and examine content validity and response processes during completion of MQOL-E and QOLLTI-F version 2 (v2) among Swedish patients with life-threatening illness and their family carers.
The study was conducted in two stages (I) translation and adaptation (II) examination of content validity and response processes using cognitive interviews with 15 patients and 9 family carers. Participants were recruited from the hemodialysis unit, heart clinic, lung clinic and specialized palliative care of a Swedish county hospital. Patients had life-threatening illness such as advanced heart failure, advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, end-stage kidney disease or advanced cancer. Patients were outpatients, inpatients or receiving home care.
Patients and family carers respectively believed that the items of the MQOL-E and QOLLTI-F v2 reflect relevant and important areas of their quality of life. Although some items needed more time for reflection, both instruments were considered easy to understand. Some changes were made to resolve issues of translation. Participants expressed that reflecting on their situation while answering questions was valuable and meaningful to them, and that responding was an opportunity to express feelings.
The results of response processes pertaining to the Swedish translations of both MQOL-E and QOLLTI-F v2 contribute evidence regarding content validity, linguistic equivalence and cultural appropriateness of the translated instruments. In addition, results show that the instruments may support conversations on matters of importance for quality of life between patients and/or family carers and health care professionals. Further research is needed to study the psychometric properties of Swedish translations.
Background: Young adults represent a minority in research; they are often considered too young or too old for participation. There is sparse information, especially in bereavement research, regarding how this age group perceives research participation and what they consider beneficial or harmful. Aim: To explore how parentally bereaved and nonbereaved young adults perceive research participation. Design: Qualitative analysis of free-text comments collected in a Swedish nation-wide survey. Setting/Participants: Parentally cancer-bereaved and nonbereaved young adults between 18 and 25 years old living in Sweden. Results: Five categories were identified from the free-text comments, three among the cancer-bereaved: (1) therapeutic to remember the deceased, (2) valuable to help others and improve care, and (3) short-term distressful-long-term beneficial, and two among the nonbereaved: (1) increased reflection and awareness about life, and (2) an opportunity to help others. Conclusions: It is important to invite young adults to participate in bereavement research. The results suggest that potential harm is minimal and that participating in bereavement research can have a beneficial effect on young adults.
Our aim was to explore the presence of symptoms, symptom relief, and other key aspects of palliative care during the final week of life among older people residing in nursing homes.
Our study employed data from the Swedish Palliative Care Register on all registered individuals aged 60 and older who had died in nursing homes during the years 2011 and 2012. Variables pertaining to monitoring and treatment of symptoms, end-of-life discussions, circumstances around the death, and the individual characteristics of deceased individuals were explored using descriptive statistics.
The most common underlying causes of death among the 49,172 deceased nursing home residents were circulatory diseases (42.2%) and dementia (22.7%). The most prevalent symptom was pain (58.7%), followed by rattles (42.4%), anxiety (33.0%), confusion (21.8%), shortness of breath (14.0%), and nausea (11.1%). Pain was the symptom with the highest degree of total relief (46.3%), whereas shortness of breath and confusion were totally relieved in 6.1 and 4.3% of all individuals, respectively. The use of valid instruments for symptom assessment was reported for pain in 12.3% and for other symptoms in 7.8% of subjects. The most prevalent individual prescriptions for injection PRN (pro re nata, according to circumstances) were for pain treatment (79.5%) and rattles (72.8%). End-of-life discussions were performed with 27.3% of all the deceased individuals and with 53.9% of their relatives. Of all individuals, 82.1% had someone present at death, and 15.8% died alone. Of all the nursing home resident deaths recorded, 45.3% died in their preferred place.
There were large variations in degree of relief from different symptoms during the final week of life. Pain was the most prevalent symptom, and it was also the symptom with the highest proportion of total/partial relief. Other symptoms were less prevalent but also less well-relieved. Our results indicate a need for improvement of palliative care in nursing home settings, focusing on management of distressing symptoms and promotion of end-of-life discussions.