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Carer perception of palliative care service at Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura

Authors:

G. U. Ramadasa ,

Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura, LK
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G. K. Pathirana,

Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura, LK
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R. Karunathilake,

Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura, LK
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M. C. Perera,

Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura, LK
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L. Siriwardhana,

Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura, LK
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C. J. Jayasekera,

Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura, LK
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M. A. Thaibudeen,

Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura, LK
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S. P. A. L. Ranaweera,

Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura, LK
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R. E. E. De Silva

Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura, LK
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Abstract

Introduction: Palliative care improves quality of care for patients with life threatening illnesses and their families. It is common for families and, less often, friends to willingly take on the role of informal carer, even though this is often at considerable psychological, physical, social, and financial cost to themselves.

Objectives: To describe carer perception towards the Palliative Care Service in Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura.

Methods: Palliative care services were provided at the Hospital for 172 patients from June 2014 to August 2016. We conducted a qualitative study to understand carer perceptions towards this new service. Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted using qualitative research methods among 22 carers of patients who have obtained this service for over 3 months. These interviews were conducted with the aid of a preformed interviewer guide based on themes, satisfaction towards palliative care services, benefits received through the service and difficulties faced in caring for the ill person. All interviews were transcribed and analysed qualitatively using open explorative thematic coding.

Results: Mean age of the carers was 44.9 years (SD 11.1), 63.6% (n=14) were females, majority (50%) were educated up to O/L, duration of care giving in the majority (50%) was 6-12 months, majority of the care givers were a child of the patient (50%). Mean age of patients was 63 years (SD 11), majority had malignancies (68.1%, n=15), and approximately half had 1-2 comorbidities.

Majority stated that the palliative care service listened to and understood the needs of the patients, that adequate information and education was provided. "Opportunity was provided to share our views and worries, and talk about our roles as carers, and support was provided". Majority were highly satisfied with the service. Benefits obtained through the service were, patients could be cared for in their own homes with family members, and patients had comfortable and peaceful death. Special advice and guidance provided was beneficial to improve the physical and psychological state of patients and carers, such as pain relief, improved sleep, appetite and feeding. Carers were able to understand the disease prognosis and pre-plan to fulfil patient expectations. Some patients also received assistive devices through the service which greatly benefitted them. The service was also able to avoid frequent hospital admissions, arrange hospice care when needed, and arranged financial assistance.

Difficulties faced in caring for the patient included loss of job and occupation, financial difficulties, hardships in transporting patients from home to hospital, having to travel long distances, poor support from some family members in caring for the patient which increased carer burden, and children’s schooling and education being adversely affected.

Conclusions: The majority of carers were satisfied with the service provided and perceived benefit from the Palliative Care Service provided by Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura.

How to Cite: Ramadasa, G.U. et al., (2017). Carer perception of palliative care service at Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura. Journal of the Ceylon College of Physicians. 47(2), pp.76–81. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jccp.v47i2.7787
Published on 16 Jun 2017.
Peer Reviewed

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