Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Meeting the family: Measuring effectiveness of family meetings in a specialist inpatient palliative care unit

  • Breffni Hannon (a1), Valerie O'Reilly (a2), Kathleen Bennett (a3), Karen Breen (a2) and Peter G. Lawlor (a4)...

Abstract

Objective:

The World Health Organization (WHO) definition of palliative care as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness …” recognizes the importance of family members in this setting. In practice, family meetings account for a significant amount of the weekly workload in a specialist inpatient palliative care unit. Despite this, there is little empirical evidence to support the benefits of family meetings from the perspective of family members.

Method:

A prospective study over 6 months, invited a designated family member to complete a self-report instrument (SRI) and the Family Inventory of Needs (FIN) questionnaire prior to, immediately following, and 48 hours after a planned family meeting attended by several members of the multidisciplinary team.

Results:

Thirty-one designated family members completed the study. The SRIs completed prior to a family meeting identified particular areas of concern and worry for family members, and also helped to generate an agenda based on the family's particular needs. The pre-meeting FIN identified areas of patient care of greatest importance to each family member, and asked them to rate whether particular care needs were presently met or unmet, in their opinion, by the healthcare team caring for the patient. Following the family meeting, repeat SRIs showed an overall reduction in concerns and increased confidence in dealing with those issues raised. Post-family meeting FIN scores confirmed a greater number of met care needs compared with pre-meeting scores, all of which were sustained over time.

Significance of results:

This study confirms the value of planned multidisciplinary family meetings for patients in specialist inpatient palliative care units. It identifies the often unmet needs of family members and the sustained benefits associated with formal family meetings.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Breffni Hannon, Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, Princess Margaret Hospital, 610 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2M9, Canada. E-mail: breffni.hannon@uhn.ca

References

Hide All
Aoun, S., Bird, S., Kristjanson, L.J., et al. (2010). Reliability testing of the FAMCARE-2 scale: measuring family carer satisfaction with palliative care. Palliative Medicine, 24, 674681.
Christ, G.H. & Blacker, S. (2005). Improving interdisciplinary communication skills with families. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 8, 855856.
Cohen Fineberg, I. (2005). Preparing professionals for family conferences in palliative care: evaluation results of an interdisciplinary approach. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 8, 857865.
Curtis, J.R. & White, D.B. (2008). Practical guidance for evidence-based ICU family conferences. Chest, 134, 835843.
Dumont, I. & Kissane, D. (2009). Techniques for framing questions in conducting family meetings in palliative care. Palliative and Supportive Care, 7, 163170.
Gueguen, J.A., Bylund, C.L., Brown, R.F., et al. (2009). Conducting family meetings in palliative care: Themes, techniques, and preliminary evaluation of a communication skills module. Palliative and Supportive Care, 7, 171179.
Hannon, B., O'Reilly, V., Bennett, K., et al. (2010). Family meetings in a specialist palliative care unit: Are they effective? EAPC 2010 Abstracts: Oral, Plenaries and Invited Lectures. Palliative Medicine, 24, S5S239.
Hansen, P., Cornish, P. & Kayser, K. (1998). Family conferences as forums for decision making in hospital settings. Social Work Health Care, 27, 5774.
Hudson, P., Quinn, K., O'Hanlon, B., et al. (2008). Family meetings in palliative care: Multidisciplinary clinical practice guidelines. BMC Palliative Care, 7, 12.
Hudson, P., Thomas, T., Quinn, K., et al. (2009). Family meetings in palliative care: Are they effective? Palliative Medicine, 23, 150157.
Hudson, P.L., Trauer, T., Graham, S., et al. (2010). A systematic review of instruments related to family caregivers of palliative care patients. Palliative Medicine, 24, 656668.
Kristjanson, L.J., Atwood, J. & Degner, L.F. (1995). Validity and reliability of the Family Inventory of Needs (FIN): Measuring the care needs of families of advanced cancer patients. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 3, 109126.
WHO. (2002). National Cancer Control Programmes: Policies and Managerial Guidelines, 2nd ed.Geneva: World Health Organization.
Yennurajalingam, S., Dev, R., Lockey, M., et al. (2008). Characteristics of family conferences in a palliative care unit at a comprehensive cancer center. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 11, 12081211.

Keywords

Meeting the family: Measuring effectiveness of family meetings in a specialist inpatient palliative care unit

  • Breffni Hannon (a1), Valerie O'Reilly (a2), Kathleen Bennett (a3), Karen Breen (a2) and Peter G. Lawlor (a4)...

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed