Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 August 2017
Our aim was to gain insight into the perspectives of patients, close relatives, nurses, and physicians on medication management for patients with a life expectancy of less than 3 months.
We conducted an empirical multicenter study with a qualitative approach, including in-depth interviews with patients, relatives, nurses, specialists, and general practitioners (GPs). We used the constant comparative method and ATLAS.ti (v. 7.1) software for our analysis.
Saturation occurred after 18 patient cases (76 interviews). Some 5 themes covering 18 categories were identified: (1) priorities in end-of-life care, such as symptom management and maintaining hope; (2) appropriate medication use, with attention to unnecessary medication and deprescription barriers; (3) roles in decision making, including physicians in the lead, relatives' advocacy, and pharmacists as suppliers; (4) organization and communication (e.g., transparency of tasks and end-of-life conversations); and (5) prerequisites about professional competence, accessibility and quality of medical records, and financial awareness. Patients, relatives, nurses, specialists, and GPs varied in their opinions about these themes.
This study adds to our in-depth understanding of the complex practice of end-of-life medication management. It provides knowledge about the diversity of the perspectives of patients, close relatives, nurses, and physicians regarding beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, skills, behavior, work setting, the health system, and cultural factors related to the matter. Our results might help to draw an interdisciplinary end-of-life medication management guide aimed at stimulating a multidisciplinary and patient-centered pharmacotherapeutic care approach.