ATTITUDES AND CURRENT PRACTICE OF END OF LIFE CARE IN STROKE PATIENTS: A QUESTIONNAIRE SERVICE EVALUATION.
End of life care is a major aspect in the management of acute stroke, presenting challenges for both medical and nursing staff. The aim of this service evaluation was to investigate staff experiences of end of life care in acute stroke setting at a teaching hospital in South West Wales.
The study involved the use of a questionnaire, composed of 16 close-ended questions using a likert-scale for the staff responses. Participants were asked to complete the questionnaire before and after ‘a tailored end of life care for stroke training session’. The data from the questionnaires were quantitatively analysed to identify staff attitudes, management practices, perceived barriers in end of life care and impact of targeted training.
The respondents included 16 doctors, 18 nurses, 20 healthcare support workers (HCSW) based on the stroke ward. The biggest differences observed in the staff responses were in their readiness to support families and in decisions around appropriate medication management and nutrition/hydration. Out of all staff groups, Nurses appeared to be more confident in these areas. In other domains such as satisfaction with basic training and confidence in delivering end of life care, little differences were observed between doctors, nurses and HCSW
The results of our study indicate that end of life care is not straightforward. The biggest impact of specific end of life training was observed in staff confidence in dealing with families and management of medication and nutrition during end of life care.