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Keywords:

  • intervention;
  • palliative care;
  • caring;
  • long-term care;
  • nurse assistants;
  • quality of care;
  • person-centred care;
  • caring climate

Background

A palliative care approach aims to integrate psychosocial and existential as well as relationship aspects in the care and is an approach that can be used in residential care. Nurse assistants are the ones who are closest to the residents but have limited prerequisites for working in accordance with the palliative care approach. We aimed to investigate the effects on nurse assistants' experiences of care provision and the caring climate of an intervention applying a palliative care approach in residential care.

Methods

An intervention involving nurse assistants (n = 75) and their leaders (n = 9), in comparison with controls (n = 110), was evaluated using a questionnaire at three points in time.

Results

In the intervention group, positive effects were seen concerning the nurse assistants' reports of the care provision in that they focused more on the residents' stories about their lives and on communicating with the residents about what gave meaning to their lives. Also, negative effects were seen when the nurse assistants rated that the residents' needs for medical and nursing care had not been met at the facility directly after the intervention. No effects were seen concerning the caring climate or the prerequisites of providing more person-centred care.

Conclusion

The intervention seemed to have encouraged the nurse assistants to focus on relationship aspects with the residents. So as not to jeopardise the NAs' well-being and to support NAs in keeping themselves involved in existential issues, their support most certainly needs to be continuous and ongoing. However, in spite of the leaders' involvement, the intervention was not sufficient for changing the organisational prerequisites for more person-centred care.