Compassionate End-of-Life Care: Mixed-Methods Multisite Evaluation of the 3 Wishes Project Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Background: The 3 Wishes Project (3WP) is an end-of-life program that aims to honor the dignity of dying patients by creating meaningful patient- and family-centered memories while promoting humanistic interprofessional care. Objective: To determine whether this palliative intervention could be successfully implemented-defined as demonstrating value, transferability, affordability, and sustainability-beyond the intensive care unit in which it was created. Design: Mixed-methods formative program evaluation. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT04147169). Setting: 4 North American intensive care units. Participants: Dying patients, their families, clinicians, hospital managers, and administrators. Intervention: Wishes from dying patients, family members, and clinicians were elicited and implemented. Measurements: Patient characteristics and processes of care; the number, type, and cost of each wish; and semistructured interviews and focus groups with family members, clinicians, and managers. Results: A total of 730 patients were enrolled, and 3407 wishes were elicited. Qualitative data were gathered from 75 family members, 72 clinicians, and 20 managers or hospital administrators. Value included intentional comforting of families as they honored the lives and legacies of their loved ones while inspiring compassionate clinical care. Factors promoting transferability included family appreciation and a collaborative intensive care unit culture committed to dignity-conserving end-of-life care. Staff participation evolved from passive support to professional agency. Program initiation required minimal investment for reusable materials; thereafter, the mean cost was $5.19 (SD, $17.14) per wish. Sustainability was demonstrated by the continuation of 3WP at each site after study completion. Limitation: This descriptive formative evaluation describes tertiary care center-specific experiences rather than aiming for generalizability to all jurisdictions. Conclusion: The 3WP is a transferrable, affordable, and sustainable program that provides value to dying patients, their families, clinicians, and institutions. Primary Funding Source: Greenwall Foundation.

publication date

  • January 7, 2020