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  • Exposing barriers to end-of-life communication in heart failure: An integrative review

Exposing barriers to end-of-life communication in heart failure: An integrative review

Garland, E. L., Bruce, A., & Stajduhar, K. Canadian Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. 2013, 23(1), pages 12-18.


Background:  End-of-life (EOL) communication is lacking despite patients with heart failure (HF) and their caregivers desiring it.  Aim:  To review the existing literature to identify barriers that inhibit EOL communication in the HF population.  Method:  We chose an integrative literature review method and began searching CINAHL, Medline, PscyhInfo, Web of Science, Health Source Nursing Academic, Evidence-Based Medicine Reviews (EBMR), dissertations and theses searches through the University of Victoria and through  Proquest from 1995 to 2011.  Data Evaluation:  EOL communication regarding wishes, prognosis and options for care rarely happen.  We noted that patients lacked understanding of HF, feared engaging health care professionals (HCP), did not wish to talk about EOL, or waited for HCPs to initiate the conversation.  HCPs lacked comunication skills, focused on curative therapies and found diagnosing and prognosticating HF difficult.  Limited time and space for conversations played a role.  Conclusion: The challenge of diagnosing and prognosticating HF, its unpredictable trajectory, HCP inexperience in recognizing nearing EOL and lack of communication skills lead to HCPs avoiding EOL conversations.  Four catagories of barriers to communication were identified:  patient/caregiver, HCP, disease-specific and organizational challenges.

To read this article please visit the Journal Site HERE or your local academic library.

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