Palliative Care Situation Reflection


Reflective follow permits nurses to critically assessment their actions by a strategy of considerate deliberation about previous experiences, in an effort to study from them (Tickle 1994; Atkins and Murphy 1995; Bailey 1995; Spalding 1998). Reflection is essential because it supplies alternatives for studying and persevering with skilled improvement (Hinchliff et al. 1993; Spalding 1998). Moreover, it permits the nurse to higher deal with future conditions and deal extra ably with difficult occasions in on a regular basis scientific follow (Jarvis 1992; Smith 1995). Numerous fashions of reflection have been developed. Gibbs cycle considers the method of reflection as six key levels: (1) description of the occasion, (2) emotions, (three) analysis, (four) evaluation, (5) conclusion and (6) improvement of an motion plan (Gibbs 1988). On this paper, Gibbs cycle might be used to mirror on an scientific incident that I've skilled which focuses on communication in palliative care and particularly, breaking unhealthy information to a affected person and his household.

Palliative care is the care of any affected person with superior, incurable illness (Urie et al. 2000). Palliative care entails the administration of ache and different disease-related signs, and goals to enhance high quality of life utilizing a holistic method that includes bodily, psychological, social and religious points of care (Urie et al. 2000). Efficient communication between nurses and different healthcare professionals, sufferers, and their households and carers kinds a key part of palliative care, significantly when breaking unhealthy information. Analysis has proven that healthcare professionals cite quite a lot of challenges in speaking successfully, together with cultural elements, deciding on the very best strategy of communication and knowledge to ship, and the problem of conveying hope to sufferers and their carers (de Haes and Teunissen 2005).

The NHS Most cancers Plan printed in 2000 states that: “the care of all dying sufferers should enhance to the extent of the very best”, with good communication between healthcare professionals and sufferers as central to reaching this objective (Division of Well being 2000). The Gold Requirements Framework (GSF) is a framework designed to make sure a gold customary of care is supplied for all sufferers who're nearing the top of their lives (NHS 2005). There are three levels on this framework: (1) determine, (2) assess and (three) plan, with efficient communication a key objective underpinning every of those levels. Nationwide Institute for Well being and Scientific Excellence (NICE) pointers on enhancing supportive and palliative look after adults additionally stresses the worth of excellent face-to-face communication each between healthcare professionals and sufferers and likewise inter-professional communication (NICE 2003). This steering helps the usage of the Liverpool Look after the Dying Affected person Pathway (2004) which supplies a framework for enhancing communication. It's due to this fact essential that nurses develop the required abilities to allow them to speak successfully with sufferers and carers, and likewise with different healthcare professionals inside the multidisciplinary care staff.

Reflection utilizing Gibbs cycle

(1) Description of the occasion

Mr Smith is a 39 12 months previous father and firm director who found a testicular swelling. He selected to disregard this, initially as a result of he misinterpreted it as a sports activities harm, and later as a result of he felt embarrassed about discussing this with a physician. 9 months later he introduced to the emergency admissions unit as he was changing into breathless way more readily than typical, and suffered a relentless backache. These signs had been discovered to be resulting from lung metastases and referred ache brought on by metastases within the para-aortic lymph nodes. His prognosis was poor and his household had been referred to as in order that they might be there when he acquired the analysis to assist assist him. The advisor delivered the information to Mr Smith and his household in a quiet room, with each myself and one other employees nurse current. Understandably, each Mr Smith and his household had been devastated.

(2) Emotions

This case has had a big impact on me. As this was the primary time I had attended a case the place unhealthy information of this nature needed to be damaged to the affected person and their household, I used to be naturally apprehensive previous to the occasion. On seeing the reactions of Mr Smith and his spouse to the information, I used to be unprepared for the power of my very own feelings and located it onerous to not cry. Initially, I felt helpless and unable to do something to assist relieve their struggling. I additionally felt awkward and as if I used to be intruding at a time when they need to be allowed to grieve collectively privately. Nevertheless, these emotions shortly handed and had been changed by a want to do my greatest to make Mr Smith’s end-of-life care the very best and supply as a lot assist to each the affected person and his household as I might.

(three) Analysis

The advisor broke the information to Mr Smith and his household very effectively and was in a position to attract on his appreciable expertise to deal with the state of affairs in an expert method whereas exhibiting empathy and sensitivity. The selection of a quiet room quite than an open hospital ward supplied a perfect surroundings which afforded Mr Smith privateness to obtain the information. The advisor primarily centered on verbal strategies to speak successfully, but additionally used non-verbal strategies, resembling sitting down on their stage, quite than standing whereas they sat down; sustaining eye contact with each Mr and Mrs Smith all through the dialog; utilizing open physique language (e.g. not crossing his arms); and utilizing a delicate tone of voice. The advisor didn't rush in breaking the information and took time to elucidate Mr Smith’s analysis and prognosis, guaranteeing that what he was saying was understood and offering clarification the place mandatory. He was additionally cautious to not give unrealistic solutions to any troublesome questions that had been requested and was as optimistic as potential, whereas nonetheless being open and trustworthy. Whereas the advisor was talking, the opposite employees nurse noticed the reactions of Mr Smith and his household carefully to select up on non-verbal clues to their ideas and emotions and was fast to step in to position an arm across the shoulders of Mrs Smith when she started to cry which was clearly of nice consolation to her. The one unfavorable facet of the incident was that I felt that having two employees nurses in addition to the advisor current was extreme and initially unsettled the household, serving to emphasize the gravity of the state of affairs.

(four) Evaluation

Efficient communication

As this was the primary time I had been concerned in a case like this, my position was largely one in every of observer. Nonetheless, this was nonetheless a wonderful studying expertise and supplied me with the chance to develop my verbal and non-verbal communication abilities by remark. On reflection, I really feel that I might have saved my feelings extra below management, however I used to be unprepared for the power of Mr and Mrs Smith’s response to the information. The advisor performed the important thing position with assist from the opposite employees nurse, each of whom have appreciable expertise in palliative care. It was clear that hey had already gained the belief of Mr Smith throughout earlier consultations. Belief has been recognized as a significant component in establishing profitable relationships between healthcare professionals, sufferers and carers (de Haes and Teunissen 2005), and this enabled simpler, open and trustworthy communication.

In palliative care, you will need to relate to the affected person on a private in addition to an expert stage (Lugton and Kindlen 1999). There ought to be consistency between verbal and non-verbal communication to ensure that the healthcare skilled to be perceived as real (Benjamin 1981). Proof has proven non-verbal strategies of communication to be extra highly effective than verbal strategies (Henley 1973), with listening and eye contact among the many simplest types of non-verbal communication. Contact has additionally been recognized as an essential for nurses in sure conditions. The advisor relied primarily on verbal communication which can mirror gender-specific variations in communication with males utilizing verbal kinds extra often and girls tending to rely extra on non-verbal communication strategies (Lugton and Kindlen 1999). Observing the opposite employees nurse readily use contact to consolation Mrs Smith helped the remainder of the household to chill out and lessened the stress within the room barely, additionally breaking down the ‘barrier’ between the healthcare professionals and the affected person/household. I noticed that the household appeared to view the nurse as a comforter and extra approachable than the advisor, a view that continued all through Mr Smith’s end-of-life care.

Though not related to this explicit case, you will need to acknowledge that efficient communication between members of the multidisciplinary palliative care staff can be important. This may be difficult if, for instance, staff members have differing philosophies of care. One of many key suggestions of the NICE pointers on palliative care is the implementation of processes to make sure efficient inter-personal communication inside multidisciplinary groups and different care suppliers (NICE 2003). Throughout Mr Smith’s end-of-life care, I needed to work carefully with different members of the care staff and there have been cases the place it was essential for me to think about the views of different staff members in an effort to talk successfully with them. Common staff conferences had been useful in making a discussion board the place difficulties might be mentioned and options to issues discovered.

Reactions to receiving unhealthy information in palliative care

After breaking unhealthy information to a affected person, healthcare professionals could need to be ready to take care of quite a lot of reactions together with denial and collusion, and emotional reactions resembling anger, guilt and blame. Denial is usually a coping mechanism for sufferers who're unable to face the actual fact they've a terminal sickness however sufferers will typically start to face actuality as their illness progresses over time (Faulkner 1998). Members of the family and carers could encourage the affected person to remain in denial, as it will delay the time when troublesome points need to be confronted and mentioned. Collusion between healthcare professionals and households/carers to withhold info from the affected person is often seen as a approach to attempt to defend the affected person (Faulkner 1998). Nevertheless, trustworthy and open dialogue with the affected person themselves establishes their stage of data and understanding and can assist to reassure them about their situation and settle for actuality.

Sufferers and their households and carers typically present robust emotional reactions to unhealthy information. Anger could typically be misdirected in direction of the healthcare skilled because the bearer of this information, and it's important that the reason for the anger is recognized and addressed. Sufferers could really feel guilt, and that they're in some way being punished for one thing they've performed improper. Alternatively, the affected person could serve guilty their situation on different folks. Whereas healthcare professionals are unable to remove these emotions of guilt and blame, guaranteeing the affected person has the prospect to speak them by and talk about related points can assist them come to phrases with these emotions. Mr Smith’s response to the information was one in every of self-blame and guilt – he blamed himself for not visiting a physician earlier and felt responsible that he was placing his household by a lot. He appeared to just accept his poor prognosis and requested quite a lot of questions which demonstrated a full understanding of his state of affairs.

Religious and cultural beliefs can affect a person’s expertise of sickness and the considerations of each sufferers and their households or carers could should be addressed both on the time unhealthy information is damaged or at a later stage throughout end-of-life care when people are going through dying (Matzo et al. 2005). Incorporating religious care into nursing is due to this fact significantly essential in palliative care; nevertheless, since neither Mr Smith or his household had been significantly non secular, this was not a key subject on this incident or in his subsequent care.

Management of cancer-related signs in palliative care

Sufferers with superior most cancers are sometimes polysymptomatic (Grond et al 1994). Frequent signs embody ache, fatigue, weak spot, anorexia, weight reduction, constipation, breathlessness and melancholy. Efficient management of those signs is important for optimum high quality of life throughout end-of-life care. As beforehand mentioned, one of many essential processes within the GSF framework entails assessing sufferers signs and planning care centred round these, to make sure that these signs are managed as a lot as potential (NHS 2005).

Three signs that required efficient administration as a part of Mr Smith’s care plan had been ache, breathlessness and melancholy. One in every of Mr Smith’s best considerations was that he would undergo appreciable ache in the course of the superior levels of his most cancers. This can be a widespread worry held by many most cancers sufferers. Ache is a symptom skilled by as much as 70% of most cancers sufferers (Donnelly and Walsh 1995; Vainio and Auvunen 1996). Ache could consequence from the most cancers itself, therapy, debility or unrelated pathologies, and correct analysis of the trigger(s) of ache is due to this fact essential. The World Well being Organisation (WHO) ‘analgesic ladder’ (WHO 1996) supplies a system for managing most cancers ache and has been proven to attain ache aid in nearly 90% of sufferers (Zech et al. 1995; WHO 1996).

Pharmacological interventions for ache administration embody the usage of non-opioids resembling paracetamol, aspirin, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAIDS) for the management of delicate ache. In Europe, oral morphine is the dug of alternative for the management of average to extreme most cancers ache, however weak or robust opioids may additionally be used, both with or with out non-opioids. Right dosing of opioids and efficient administration of widespread unwanted effects (e.g. constipation) are important (Walsh 2000), and adjuvant therapy for particular ache may additionally be required. Non-pharmacological interventions embody the supply of emotional and religious assist, serving to the affected person to develop coping methods, use of rest strategies, acupuncture or the usage of a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS). Proof from a meta-analysis of randomised managed trials assessing nursing non-pharmacological interventions demonstrated these interventions to be efficient for ache administration however some trials confirmed minimal variations between the therapy and management teams (Sindhu 1996).

Breathlessness is a standard symptom amongst most cancers sufferers which will be troublesome to regulate and will trigger appreciable misery to each sufferers and their carers (Davis 1997; Vora 2004). Acceptable administration often requires each pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions (Bausewein et al. 2008). Pharmacological interventions embody the usage of bronchodilators, benzodiazepines, opioids, corticosteroids and oxygen remedy (Vora 2004). Non-pharmacological interventions which have been proven to be efficient embody counselling and assist, both alone or together with relaxation-breathing coaching, rest and psychotherapy (Bausewein et al. 2008). There's restricted proof that acupuncture or acupressure are efficient.

Each anxiousness and melancholy are widespread amongst sufferers with superior most cancers however each of those circumstances are often below identified (Barraclough 1997). Moreover, these circumstances are typically seen as merely pure reactions to the affected person’s sickness. Pharmacological interventions resembling antidepressants ought to be used if the affected person present signs of a particular depressive dysfunction. Non-pharmacological interventions embody rest, psychosocial therapies and therapeutic massage (Lander et al. 2000). Optimum administration of melancholy in sufferers with superior most cancers sometimes entails a mixture of each pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches (Lander et al. 2000).

Moral and authorized issues in palliative care

There are a selection of moral and authorized issues in palliative care resembling euthanasia and the appropriate to withhold or withdraw life sustaining therapy. These points which had been of significance on this account deal with the affected person’s proper to know their analysis (i.e. autonomy). Proof exhibits that almost all of most cancers sufferers want to know their analysis and the doubtless development of their illness (Faulkner 1998). This will likely current a problem for clinicians and nurses who could want to attempt to defend the affected person and convey an optimistic outlook even when the prognosis is poor. Within the case of Mr Smith, he needed to know as a lot info as potential about his analysis and therapy and the advisor and nurse answered his questions as overtly and truthfully as potential.

(5) Conclusion

Reflective follow is essential each as a studying course of and for the persevering with skilled improvement of nurses. Using a mannequin resembling Gibbs’s cycle permits the nurse to maneuver logically by the reflective course of and supplies a structured method. Efficient communication is important in palliative care. Nurses and different healthcare professionals should be capable of talk successfully each with sufferers and their households/carers but additionally with different members of the multidisciplinary care staff. The nurse performs a key position within the provision of supportive and palliative care and should develop wonderful verbal and non-verbal communication abilities. Breaking unhealthy information resembling that given to Mr Smith is without doubt one of the hardest duties for healthcare professionals, no matter their stage of expertise, and it's important that the state of affairs is dealt with professionally, but additionally with empathy and sensitivity, taking full account of the moral and authorized points of the state of affairs. Using non-verbal communication by the nurse is as essential as verbal strategies of communication.

(6) Motion plan This incident supplied me with a invaluable studying alternative and had been I to come across an analogous state of affairs sooner or later, I might really feel significantly better ready to take care of this. I've learnt that preparation is essential, for instance, choosing an appropriate surroundings wherein to interrupt the information, and guaranteeing that chairs are positioned appropriately inside the room. Fairly than relying totally on verbal communication, I might be extra conscious of the effectiveness of non-verbal strategies, significantly contact, if this was acceptable. I've additionally developed a larger consciousness of the moral points surrounding breaking unhealthy information in palliative care, and the should be open and trustworthy with the affected person and their household the place potential.


Atkins, S. and Murphy, Okay. 1995, ‘Reflective follow’, Nursing Commonplace, vol. 9, no. 45, pp. 3135.

Bailey, J. 1995, ‘Scientific reflective follow; reflective follow: implementing idea’, Nursing Commonplace, vol. 9, no. 46, pp. 2931.

Barraclough, J. 1997, ‘ABC of palliative care: melancholy, anxiousness and confusion’, British Medical Journal, vol. 315, pp. 1365–eight.

Bausewein, C., Sales space, S., Gysels, M., Higginson, I. J. 2008, ‘Non-pharmacological interventions for breathlessness in superior levels of malignant and non-malignant illnesses’, The Cochrane Database of Systematic Opinions, no. three.

Benjamin 1981, The serving to interview, 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.

Davis, C. L. 1997, ‘ABC of palliative care. Breathlessness, cough and different respiratory issues’, British Medical Journal, vol. 315, pp. 931–four.

de Haes, H. & Teunissen, S. 2005, ‘Communication in palliative care: a assessment of current literature’, Present Opinion in Oncology, vol. 17, no. four, pp. 345–50.

Division of Well being 2000, The NHS most cancers Plan: a plan for funding, a plan for reform. Retrieved 1st September 2008 from:

Donnelly, S. & Walsh, D. 1995, ‘The signs of superior most cancers’, Seminars in Oncology, vol. 22, pp. 67–72.

Faulkner, A. 1998, ‘Communication with sufferers, households, and different professionals’, British Medical Journal, vol. 316, pp. 130–2.

Gibbs, G. 1988, Studying by doing: a information to educating and studying strategies. Oxford Additional Training Unit, Oxford Polytechnic.

Grond, S., Zech, D., Diefenbach, C., Bischoff, A. 1994, ‘Prevalence and sample of signs in paients with most cancers ache: a potential analysis of 1,635 most cancers sufferers referred to a ache clinic’, Journal of Ache Symptom Administration, vol. 9, p. 372–82.

Henley, N. 1973, ‘Energy, Intercourse, and Nonverbal Communication’, Berkeley Journal of Sociology, vol. 18, pp. 1–26.

Hinchliff, S. M., Norman, S. E., Schober, J. E. 1993, Nursing follow and well being care, 2nd ed, Edward Arnold, London.

Jarvis, P. 1992, ‘Reflective follow and nursing’, Nurse Training Right now, vol. 12, pp. 174–81.

Lander, M., Wilson, Okay., Chochinov, H. M. 2000, ‘Despair and the dying older affected person’, Clinics in Geriatric Medication, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 335–56.

Liverpool Care Pathway 2004, Liverpool Care of the Dying Affected person Pathway. Retrieved 1st September 2008 from:

Lugton, J. & Kindlen, M. 1999, Palliative care: the nursing position. Churchill Livingstone, London.

Matzo, M., Matzo, M. L., Witt Sherman, D. 2005, Palliative Care Nursing: High quality Care to the Finish of Life, 2nd edn. Springer Publishing Firm, New York.

NHS 2005, The Gold Requirements Framework. Retrieved 1st September 2008 from:

NICE 2003, Enhancing supportive and palliative look after adults. Retrieved 1st September 2008 from:

Sindhu, F. 1996, ‘Are non-pharmacological nursing interventions for the administration of ache efficient? – a meta-analysis’, Journal of Superior Nursing, vol. 24, pp. 1152–9.

Smith, C. 1995, ‘Evaluating nursing care; reflection in follow’, Skilled Nurse, vol. 10, no. 9, pp. 593–6.

Spalding, N. J. 1998, ‘Reflection in skilled improvement: a private expertise’, British Journal of Remedy and Rehabilitation, vol. 5, no. 7, pp. 379–82.

Tickle, L. 1994, ‘The induction of latest academics’, Castell, London.

Urie, J., Fielding, H., McArthur, D., Kinnear, M., Hudson, S., Fallon, M. 2000, ‘Palliative care’, The Pharmaceutical Journal, vol. 265, no. 7119, pp. 603–14.

Vora, V. 2004, ‘Breathlessness: a palliative care perspective’, Indian Journal of Palliative Care, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 12–18.

Walsh, D. 2000, ‘Pharmacological administration of most cancers ache’, Seminars in Oncology, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 45–63.

WHO 1996, WHO pointers: most cancers ache aid, 2nd ed. World Well being Group, Geneva.

Zech, D., Grond, S., Lynch, J., Hertel, D., Lehmann, Okay. A. 1995, ‘Validation of World Well being Group pointers for most cancers ache aid: a 10 12 months potential research’, Ache, vol. 63, pp. 65–76.

Vainio, A. & Auvunen, A. 1996, ‘Prevalence of signs amongst sufferers with superior most cancers; a global collaborative group research’, Journal of Ache Symptom Administration, vol. 12, pp. three–10.