Evaluation of the Strengthening a Palliative Approach in Long Term Care (SPA-LTC) programme: a protocol of a cluster randomised control trial Journal Articles uri icon

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  • IntroductionDespite the high mortality rates in long-term care (LTC) homes, most do not have a formalised palliative programme. Hence, our research team has developed the Strengthening a Palliative Approach in Long Term Care (SPA-LTC) programme. The goal of the proposed study is to examine the implementation and effectiveness of the SPA-LTC programme.Methods and analysisA cross-jurisdictional, effectiveness-implementation type II hybrid cluster randomised control trial design will be used to assess the SPA-LTC programme for 18 LTC homes (six homes within each of three provinces). Randomisation will occur at the level of the LTC home within each province, using a 1:1 ratio (three homes in the intervention and control groups). Baseline staff surveys will take place over a 3-month period at the beginning for both the intervention and control groups. The intervention group will then receive facilitated training and education for staff, and residents and their family members will participate in the SPA-LTC programme. Postintervention data collection will be conducted in a similar manner as in the baseline period for both groups. The overall target sample size will be 594 (297 per arm, 33 resident/family member participants per home, 18 homes). Data collection and analysis will involve organisational, staff, resident and family measures. The primary outcome will be a binary measure capturing any emergency department use in the last 6 months of life (resident); with secondary outcomes including location of death (resident), satisfaction and decisional conflict (family), knowledge and confidence implementing a palliative approach (staff), along with implementation outcomes (ie, feasibility, reach, fidelity and perceived sustainability of the SPA-LTC programme). The primary outcome will be analysed via multivariable logistic regression using generalised estimating equations. Intention-to-treat principles will be used in the analysis.Ethics and disseminationThe study has received ethical approval. Results will be disseminated at various presentations and feedback sessions; at provincial, national and international conferences, and in a series of manuscripts that will be submitted to peer-reviewed, open access journals.Trial registration numberNCT039359.


  • Kaasalainen, Sharon June
  • Wickson-Griffiths, Abigail
  • Hunter, Paulette
  • Thompson, Genevieve
  • Kruizinga, Julia
  • McCleary, Lynn
  • Sussman, Tamara
  • Venturato, Lorraine
  • Shaw, Sally
  • Boamah, Sheila A
  • Bourgeois-Guérin, Valérie
  • Hadjistavropoulos, Thomas
  • Macdonald, Marilyn
  • Martin-Misener, Ruth
  • McClement, Susan
  • Parker, Deborah
  • Penner, Jamie
  • Ploeg, Jenny
  • Sinclair, Shane
  • Fisher, Kathryn A

publication date

  • October 2023