Finding privacy from a public death: A qualitative exploration of how a dedicated space for end-of-life care in an acute hospital impacts on dying patients and their families
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Aims and objectives: To explore the experiences and perceptions of hospital staff caring for dying patients in a dedicated patient/family room (named Lotus Room). Background: Dying in hospital is a common outcome for people across the world. However, noise and activity in acute environments present barriers to quality end-of-life care. This is of concern because care provided to dying patients has been shown to affect both the patients and the bereaved families. Design: A qualitative descriptive approach was used. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 multidisciplinary staff and seven families provided information through an investigator-developed instrument. Results: Qualitative data analysis generated three categories describing: Dying in an hospital; The Lotus Room; and the Outcomes for patients and families. The Lotus Room was seen as a large, private and, ultimately, safe space for patients and families within the public hospital environment. Family feedback supported staff perspectives that the Lotus Room facilitated family presence and communication. Conclusions: The privacy afforded by the Lotus Room within this acute hospital provided benefits for the dying patients and grieving families. Improved outcomes included a peaceful death for patients, which may have assisted the family with their bereavement. Relevance to clinical practice: This study provides evidence of how the physical environment can address well-established barriers to quality end-of-life care in acute hospitals.
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