Immersion Project: Best Practice Recommendations for End-Stage Dementia Care My immersion project created opportunities to interact with other care professionals, including primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, geriatric specialists, hospice nurses, and hospice administrators. Through these interactions I came to realize that there was a great need for best practice recommendations for end-stage dementia care, among primary care providers and the clinicians staffing long-term care facilities. Writing the literature review helped me realize that best practice recommendations do exist, but are not readily accessible to clinicians who need reliable and accurate tools for estimating life expectancies of terminally ill patients. The best tool available for patients suffering primarily from dementia, based on my research in this field, was the one developed by Mitchell and colleagues (2010a). Despite using the best evidence available for developing this tool, accuracy was modest at best and the authors of this study concluded that the provision of care for dementia patients should be guided by care goals, rather than life expectancy (Mitchell et al., 2010b). In spite of the limited utility of this prognosis tool for this patient population, several providers who participated in the immersion project readily expressed gratitude for being made aware of the existence of this tool. Clinicians staffing criticism over the way the information was formatted and presented, overall the tool was well-received. This reaction helped me realize that experts in dementia care have reached consensus about best practice recommendations, but clinicians caring for dementia patients in primary care offices and nursing homes have been basing their clinical decisions on experience, habit, and intuition. In other words, the healthcare system in the United States lacks an effective mechanism for translating expert opinions, best practice recommendations, and evidence-based practice into a format that is accessible by clinicians in a timely manner. This realization will obviously inform my practice going forward and encourage me to develop a reliable means to bring this information into my clinic in a timely manner. Much has been learned from this immersion project and currently a final draft of the manuscript…
O'Grady, E.T. (2008). Advanced practice registered nurses: The impact on patient safety and quality. In R.G. Hughes (ed.), Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses (pp. 2-601-2-620). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
DNP student gained much from the immersion project, especially from interacting with clinicians specializing in oncology and the cancer patients. The planning, executing, and analyzing the DNP project provided additional experience into clinical research, especially concerning the self-efficacy of patient coping before and after implementing a psychoeducational intervention. While the DNP student expressed concern over failing to reach the goal of 40 patients participating in the study or statistical