Psychosocial morbidity associated with patterns of family functioning in palliative care: baseline data from the Family Focused Grief Therapy controlled trial.
ABSTRACT Family Focused Grief Therapy (FFGT) is a new model of brief intervention, which is commenced during palliative care for those families shown to be at high risk of poor adaptation, and continued preventively into bereavement with the aim of improving family functioning and reducing the morbid consequences of grief. In this paper, baseline data on 81 families (363 individuals) selected by screening from a palliative care population are explored to confirm our previously reported observation that high levels of psychosocial morbidity are positively associated with worsening family dysfunction. The Family Relationships Index (FRI) was used for screening and the Family Assessment Device (FAD) as an independent family outcome measure. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) and Social Adjustment Scale (SAS) were the psychosocial measures. Families were classified according to their functioning based on the FRI. To allow for correlated family data, statistical analyses employed the generalized estimating equation (GEE) method, controlling for gender and depression (BDI). Screening of 257 families (701 individuals) revealed 74 (29%) well-functioning families and 183 (71%) at some risk of morbid outcome. Of the latter, 81 (44%) gave informed consent to enter a randomized controlled trial of FFGT. Patients had a mean age of 57 years, 51% were male and they suffered from cancer, with a median length of illness from diagnosis to death of 25 months. In accordance with the FFGT model, their family types were identified as Intermediate 51%, Sullen 26% and Hostile 23%. These were significantly associated with steadily increasing levels of distress (BSI) and poor social adjustment (SAS). The FAD confirmed the concurrent accuracy of the FRI. As significantly greater levels of psychosocial morbidity were present in families whose functioning as a group was poorer, support was generated for a clinical approach that screens for families rather than individuals at high risk. The predictive validity of the FRI as a screening measure was confirmed. Overall, these baseline data point to the importance of a family-centred model of care.
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ABSTRACT: Although the whole family is affected by a parent's palliative disease, palliative care research does not yet routinely consider patients' minor children. Children's and adolescents' psychosocial functioning may be impaired during prolonged parental disease with poor prognosis. Therefore, more and more health care providers are establishing clinical initiatives for families of palliative patients with minor children. However, the number of these family interventions, as well as their theoretical and empirical backgrounds and evidence base, has yet to be determined. The purpose of this study was to systematically review structured and published interventions for this target group, as well as empirical studies on these interventions. The evidence base and impact of interventions on families were considered. Literature published between 1980 and present focusing on psychosocial family-, child- or parent-centered interventions during palliative care was retrieved from PsycINFO®, Embase, MEDLINE®, CINAHL®, and PSYNDEX databases. Five interventions met the inclusion criteria. Programs focused on different populations, had diverse empirical and theoretical backgrounds and features, and were evaluated by studies of varying methodological quality. This systematic review illustrates the lack of well designed and elaborated intervention concepts and evaluation studies in this field, highlighting the necessity of conceptual and methodological rigor to inform clinical practice on a sustainable basis in the future.Journal of palliative medicine 08/2012; 15(8):931-45. · 1.84 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Patients who are facing life-threatening and life-limiting cancer almost invariably experience psychological distress. Responding effectively requires therapeutic sensitivity and skill. In this study, we examined therapeutic effectiveness within the setting of cancer-related distress with the objective of understanding its constituent parts. METHODS: Seventy-eight experienced psychosocial oncology clinicians from 24 health care centers across Canada were invited to participate in 3 focus groups each. In total, 29 focus groups were held over 2 years, during which clinicians articulated the therapeutic factors deemed most helpful in mitigating patient psychosocial distress. The content of each focus group was summarized into major themes and was reviewed with participants to confirm their accuracy. Upon completion of the focus groups, workshops were held in various centers, eliciting participant feedback on an empirical model of therapeutic effectiveness based on the qualitative analysis of focus group data. RESULTS: Three primary, interrelated therapeutic domains emerged from the data, forming a model of optimal therapeutic effectiveness: 1) personal growth and self-care (domain A), 2) therapeutic approaches (domain B), and 3) creation of a safe space (domain C). Areas of domain overlap were identified and labeled accordingly: domain AB, therapeutic humility; domain BC, therapeutic pacing; and domain AC, therapeutic presence. CONCLUSIONS: This empirical model provides detailed insights regarding the elements and pedagogy of effective communication and psychosocial care for patients who are experiencing cancer-related distress. [See editorial on pages 000-000, this issue.] Cancer 2013. © 2013 American Cancer Society.Cancer 01/2013; · 5.20 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Good doctor-patient communication has a positive impact on patient satisfaction, adherence to treatment, health outcomes and well-being, and it has been linked to reduced anxiety, increased recall, and improved understanding. During the diagnostic phase and the course of the illness, patients exhibit a range of mood changes. These include sadness and worry, frustration and anger, uncertainty, fear of disease recurrence, difficulties in inter-personal relationships, changing roles, and concerns about body image. Medical consultations can be influenced by different expectations concerning the doctor-patient interaction, by individual roles and beliefs, and by a different understanding of health and well-being influenced by cultural and other factors not necessarily associated with the medical situation. Responding to anger and other difficult emotions, dealing with family meetings, or communicating via interpreters are often experienced as demanding situations by health care professionals. This article provides an overview of the difficult doctor-patient interactions and illustrates basic communication skills in responding to challenging situations.Bundesgesundheitsblatt - Gesundheitsforschung - Gesundheitsschutz 09/2012; 55(9):1134-43. · 0.72 Impact Factor