Published online by Cambridge University Press: 07 November 2016
We aimed to describe the overall quantitative and qualitative results of a “La Caixa” Foundation and World Health Organization Collaborating Center Program entitled “Comprehensive Care for Patients with Advanced Illnesses and their Families” after four years of experience.
Qualitative and quantitative methods were employed to assess the program. Quasiexperimental, prospective, multicenter, single-group, and pretest/posttest methods were utilized to assess the quantitative data. The effectiveness of psychosocial interventions was assessed at baseline (visit 1) and after four follow-up visits. The following dimensions were assessed: mood state, discomfort, anxiety, degree of adjustment or adaptation to disease, and suffering. We also assessed the four dimensions of the spiritual pain scale: faith or spiritual beliefs, valuable faith or spiritual beliefs, meaning in life, and peace of mind/forgiveness. Qualitative analyses were performed via surveys to evaluate stakeholder satisfaction.
We built 29 psychosocial support teams involving 133 professionals—mainly psychologists and social workers. During the study period, 8,964 patients and 11,810 family members attended. Significant improvements were observed in the psychosocial and spiritual dimensions assessed. Patients, family members, and stakeholders all showed high levels of satisfaction.
This model of psychosocial care could serve as an example for other countries that wish to improve psychosocial and spiritual support. Our results confirm that specific psychosocial interventions delivered by well-trained experts can help to ease suffering and discomfort in end-of-life and palliative care patients, particularly those with high levels of pain or emotional distress.
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