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J Hosp Palliat Nurs. 2018 Feb;20(1):47-54. doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000407.

WE'RE THE EYES AND THE EARS, BUT WE DON'T HAVE A VOICE: PERSPECTIVES OF HOSPICE AIDES.

Author information

1
University of Utah, College of Nursing, Salt Lake City, UT, US.
2
Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, US.
3
Medical Oncology, University of Utah, School of Medicine; Director of Supportive Oncology and Survivorship, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT, US.

Abstract

Hospice aides are integral to the delivery of home hospice care and play an essential role in the effective communication and collaboration of the hospice interdisciplinary team. Despite their critical role, little is known about hospice aides' perceptions of their role in providing hospice services. This qualitative study explores hospice aides' perspectives of their work, their relationships with patients, families and interdisciplinary team members, and their contributions to end-of-life care. Two focus groups of hospice aides (N = 13), and 16 hours of observation of in-home caregiving were conducted. Focus group data were inductively and iteratively coded, and three themes were identified: 1) "We're the eyes and ears", 2) "We're kept out of the loop", and 3) "We have no voice." Aides described themselves as front-line providers based on the close relationships they formed with patients and family members, yet felt under-recognized by members of the hospice team. Observational field notes were reexamined with themes to confirm convergence of qualitative and observational data. Better understanding of their role could enhance integration of aides into patient- and family-centered team interactions, leading to both improved patient and family outcomes and retention and support of this critical component of the hospice workforce.

KEYWORDS:

Hospice aide; end-of-life care; interdisciplinary communication; interdisciplinary treatment team; qualitative research

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of Interest The remaining authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose. For the other authors, none were declared.

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