This study will include a sample of 100 registered nurses working at two large medical centers including nurses working in intensive care and long-term care facilities. The study will also include a sample of 100 patients in the same settings. All participants will range in age from 40-80, and will include a random selection of male and female patients and caregivers.
Design, Setting, Instruments
Patients will be provided a questionnaire to fill out that assesses their attitudes, beliefs and feelings about the care provided to them in the past, and the care they expect from their healthcare providers. Nurses will be provided a 10 question questionnaire that will include a discussion of their roles, their attitudes and beliefs about palliative care and their involvement in palliative care decision-making processes. Nurses will also be asked to describe the level of interaction they have with patients and the education they offer patients about the palliative care treatment options available to them. Questionnaires will be scored using a Likert-type 5-point scale (Carmel, Werner & Ziedenberg, 2004) with higher numbered answers suggesting a stronger agreement with statements and lower scored questions indicating disagreement with questionnaire statements. This will provide the opportunity to conduct statistical analysis of answers and provide both internal consistency and validity (Carmel, Werner & Ziedenberg, 2004).
Patient and healthcare privacy must be protected to adhere to basic ethical and moral standards one would expect when conducting a study that includes acquisition of personal information. For purposes of this study, to protect the identities of patients and nurses or other healthcare participants, each individual participating in the study will be provided a full disclosure of the study's purpose, intent and results. Patients will be asked to provide demographic and socioeconomic information, but will not be required to provide individual identifying information such as their name, address or other personal information. Nurses will be asked to provide information about their work history and experience, but will also have the ability to answer questions anonymously so their identities are protected.
Dissemination of Results
The researcher expects to collect all data and compile results in digital format using statistical analysis software. The information will be distributed in two reports, one revealing patient's opinions and perceptions of palliative care and one revealing and discussing nurses' perceptions of care. The researcher will then provide a synthesis of the research material gathered from the questionnaires and compare the information gathered from information available in a comprehensive review of literature analyzing perceptions of palliative care in healthcare environments.
A summary of results will be provided to all study participants and published in digital and hard-copy format for publication. The time frame for conducting this study is as follows: - 1 month to compile questionnaires - 1 month to conduct thorough review of literature on palliative care treatments from a database containing no less than 50 peer reviewed articles on the subject matter at hand - 1 month to distribute and collect survey questionnaires, with a follow up expected 1/2 way through distribution and collection of materials and 1 - month to compile and analyze results.
The budget for this study is limited. To help reduce the costs associated with conducting a study the number of participants and locations selected are limited in size. Questionnaires will be hand delivered and picked up by the researcher at each research location so as to minimize expenses associated with mailing and delivery of materials. The researcher will rely on free or minimal cost statistical analysis software to compile information collected from the study.
Carmel, S., Werner, P. & Ziedenberg, H. (2004). Nurses' and social workers' attitudes and beliefs about and involvement in life-sustaining treatment decisions. Health and Social Work, 29(1): 27.
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Csikai, E.L. (1999). The role and experience in determining social workers' attitudes toward euthanasia and assisted suicide. Social Work in Health Care, 30(1): 75-95.
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