The Carer Support Needs Assessment (CSNAT) Intervention: Supporting Family Caregivers of Palliative Patients at Home

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Most people who are seriously ill prefer to receive care and to die at home, often depending on family caregivers (FCGs). FCGs usually provide the majority of care that the ill person receives, and often face considerable emotional, social, financial and physical burdens.

Even though FCG support needs are recognized as high priority, many factors hinder adequate assessment: HCNs, pressed for time, tend to focus on the patient; consideration of FCG needs is often informal and unrecorded; and FCGs may be reluctant to discuss their own needs. In addition, existing tools to address FCG needs are generally too time consuming for routine practice.

This project investigated the feasibility of a brief questionnaire to determine the impact of home care nursing services on FCG quality of life, which was integrated into routine home care nurse (HCN) practice to monitor FCG needs.

The aims were to (1) assess whether a brief questionnaire, used routinely by HCNs, can improve FCG quality of life and (2) identify specific facilitators and barriers to its use in home care nursing.

Kelli Stajduhar, PhD, RN is a professor in the School of Nursing and Institute on Aging & Lifelong Health at the University of Victoria, and is a research scientist with Fraser Health. She has worked in oncology, palliative care, and gerontology for almost 30 years as a practicing nurse, educator, and researcher. Her clinical work and research has focused on health service needs for those at the end-of-life and their families, and on the needs of marginalized and vulnerable populations. Dr. Stajduhar has 250+ academic publications and presentations. She is currently the lead investigator on multiple research projects including the iPANEL research project in British Columbia, which brings together nursing researchers, practitioners and administrators to integrate a palliative approach into the health care system; an international research collaborative on family caregiving; projects evaluating the integration of a palliative approach in acute and residential care settings, and a Victoria-based study on access to end-of-life care for structurally vulnerable populations. Dr. Stajduhar received the CASN Award for Excellence in Nursing Research and most recently, she was awarded the UBC Nursing Centenary Medal of Distinction for her significant contributions to advance the school’s vision, mission and mandate.

Richard Sawatzky, PhD, RN holds a Canada Research Chair in Person-Centred Outcomes at Trinity Western University (TWU) and is the Lead on Patient-Reported Outcomes at the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences (CHEOS) at Providence Health Care in British Columbia. Dr. Sawatzky has been a faculty member at TWU since 2002 and currently teaches courses on knowledge synthesis and quantitative research methods in the Master of Science in Nursing program. He leads a program of research that focuses on the validation and use of person-centred health outcomes measurement and quality of life assessment, with a particular emphasis on integrating a palliative approach to care for people who have chronic life-limiting illnesses.