Background Providing high quality end of life care (EoLC) in acute care settings is often challenging. The importance of providing care and emotional support to visiting family members may often be overlooked in an effort to provide appropriate physical care and symptom management of the dying patient. At a local hospital Comfort Boxes have been used in some areas to provide patients and families with articles and material goods that may help to provide some relief during prolonged visiting periods. During an audit and evaluation of palliative care provision a review of the use of the comfort box was undertaken.
Aims To explore nurses perception of the use and potential use of a ‘Comfort Box’ in a variety of acute care settings at the hospital. A further aim was to explore the nurses' experiences of delivery of end-of-life care in an acute care setting.
Methods Eight focus groups with thirty-six registered nurses, healthcare assistants and student nurses were recruited from two units currently using the ‘Comfort Box’ (N=19) and two units not using the ‘Comfort Box’ (N=17). Focus groups were transcribed and subjected to a thematic analysis.
Results Four main themes were identified: Comfort and care, Supporting patients and families, Personal and organisational issues and Future improvements.
Conclusion Generally the ‘Comfort Box’ was seen to be beneficial to nursing staff and families where it is in use. However, there were tensions perceived in the way the comfort box could result in less interaction with patients and families. Personal and organisational resources were felt to have the potential to negatively impact on desired delivery of care. Suggestions for further education and training and simple infrastructure changes were made by the staff to facilitate good practice.
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