Identifying, exploring and integrating the spiritual dimension in proactive care planning: A mixed methods evaluation of a communication training intervention for multidisciplinary palliative care teams
Patients receiving palliative care value attention given to their spiritual needs. However, these needs often remain unexplored as healthcare professionals lack the skills to identify and explore them and to integrate this information into care plans.Aim:
To evaluate the effects of an interactive communication training intervention for palliative care teams in order to identify and explore the spiritual dimension and integrate it in patients’ care plans.Design:
A mixed methods pre-post study, including self-assessment questionnaires, evaluation of videos with simulated consultations (applied competence) and medical record review (implementation).Setting/participants:
Three palliative care teams including nurses (N = 21), physicians (N = 14) and spiritual caregivers (N = 3).Results:
The questionnaires showed an improvement on ‘Patient and family-centred communication’ of the End-of-life professional caregiver survey (+0.37, p < 0.01; the 8-item S-EOLC (+0.54, p < 0.01) and regarding the Spiritual Care Competence Scale, on the three subscales used (+0.27, p < 0.01, +0.29, p < 0.01 and +0.32, p < 0.01). Video evaluations showed increased attention being paid to patient’s aims and needs. The medical record review showed an increase in anticipation on the non-somatic dimension (OR: 2.2, 95% CI: 1.2–4.3, p < 0.05) and, using the Mount Vernon Cancer Network assessment tool, addressing spiritual issues (OR: 10.9, 95% CI: 3.7–39.5, p < 0.001).Conclusions:
Our training intervention resulted in increased palliative care professionals’ competence in identifying and exploring patients’ spiritual issues, and their integration in multidimensional proactive palliative care plans. The intervention directly addresses patients’ spiritual concerns and adds value to their palliative care plans.