Family caregiver views on patient-centred care at the end of life
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AIM: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the patient-centredness of community palliative care from the perspective of family members who were responsible for the care of a terminally ill family member. METHOD: A survey questionnaire was mailed to families of a deceased family member who had been designated as palliative and had received formal home care services in the central west region of the Province of Ontario, Canada. Respondents reported on service use in the last four weeks of life; the Client-Centred Care Questionnaire (CCCQ) was used to evaluate the extent to which care was patient-centred. The accessibility instrument was used to assess respondent perception of access to care. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used for data analyses. RESULTS: Of the 243 potential participants, 111 (46.0%) family caregivers completed the survey questionnaire. On average, respondents reported that they used five different services during the last four weeks of the care recipient's life. When asked about programme accessibility, care was also perceived as largely accessible and responsive to patients' changing needs (M = 4.3 (SD = 1.04)]. Most respondents also reported that they knew what service provider to contact if they experienced any problems concerning the care of their family member. However, this service provider was not consistent among respondents. Most respondents were relatively positive about the patient-centred care they received. There were however considerable differences between some items on the CCCQ. Respondents tended to provide more negative ratings concerning practical arrangement and the organization of care: who was coming, how often and when. They also rated more negatively the observation that service providers were quick to say something was possible when it was not the case. Bivariate analyses found no significant differences in CCCQ or accessibility domain scores by caregiver age, care recipient age, income, education and caregiver sex. CONCLUSIONS: Patient-centred care represents a service attribute that should be recognized as an important outcome to assess the quality of service delivery. This study demonstrates how this attribute can be evaluated in the provision of care.
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