Understanding Palliative Care on the Heart Failure Care Team: An Innovative Research Methodology
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CONTEXT: There is a growing call to integrate palliative care for patients with advanced heart failure (HF). However, the knowledge to inform integration efforts comes largely from interview and survey research with individual patients and providers. This work has been critically important in raising awareness of the need for integration, but it is insufficient to inform solutions that must be enacted not by isolated individuals but by complex care teams. Research methods are urgently required to support systematic exploration of the experiences of patients with HF, family caregivers, and health care providers as they interact as a care team. OBJECTIVES: To design a research methodology that can support systematic exploration of the experiences of patients with HF, caregivers, and health care providers as they interact as a care team. METHODS: This article describes in detail a methodology that we have piloted and are currently using in a multisite study of HF care teams. RESULTS: We describe three aspects of the methodology: the theoretical framework, an innovative sampling strategy, and an iterative system of data collection and analysis that incorporates four data sources and four analytical steps. CONCLUSION: We anticipate that this innovative methodology will support groundbreaking research in both HF care and other team settings in which palliative integration efforts are emerging for patients with advanced nonmalignant disease.
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