Year of Publication

2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Sheila Melander

Clinical Mentor

Dr. Amber Folske

Committee Member

Dr. Melanie Hardin-Pierce

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to determine the need for palliative care at Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital as well as assess the knowledge and attitudes of the healthcare workers in that facility concerning palliative and end of life care. Methods: For the purposes of this study, the units of the hospital were divided into four categories: intensive care unit (ICU), progressive care unit (PCU), oncology, and medical surgical. A needs assessment of each type of unit was conducted in two parts. The first part was a retrospective chart review to determine the volume of patients on each type of unit that could have potentially benefited from an inpatient palliative care consult. The second part was a voluntary email survey of the nurses and providers. The survey consisted of the Palliative Care Quiz for Nursing (PCQN) to assess knowledge and the Thanatophobia Scale (TS) to assess attitudes towards end of life care. Results: The chart review revealed that the ICU had the highest volume of eligible patients, followed by PCU and oncology then medical surgical units. ICU had the most in-hospital deaths, though PCU had the most post-discharge mortalities. The survey results only contained information from nurses as no providers responded. Nurses on each type of unit scored similarly on the PCQN and TS, and there was no association between years of experience, type of unit, knowledge, or comfort with palliative care. Conclusion: This project showed that there is a large need for inpatient palliative care in the critical care and oncology units of the hospital. All nurses and providers could benefit from palliative care education directed towards their specific role in caring for patients nearing the end of life.

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