The study, “Measuring What Matters,” was led by Sally Norton, associate professor in nursing and palliative care at the University of Rochester. It narrows down 10 “Measures That Matter” from a list of 75 indicators, based on what’s most important to patients and families. They include:
- Comprehensive assessment, including physical, psychological, social, spiritual, and functional screening soon after admission;
- Screening for pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and constipation during admission;
- Documented discussion regarding emotional needs and spiritual concerns;
- Documentation of their preferences for life-sustaining treatments; and
- Adherence to documented preferences to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatments.
Researchers for the study, which was published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, chose scientifically rigorous measures that: were meaningful for patients and their families; are able to be implemented by providers; and that can significantly improve the level of care. Researchers hope that this study will eventually create health care benchmarks for the industry.
Norton and her colleagues also recommend developing a method for identifying all patients who could benefit from palliative and hospice care, and developing a survey for patients or their families that is valid in all settings.
The INQRI-funded “Nursing's Specific Contributions to Quality Palliative Care within the Context of Interdisciplinary Intensive Care Practice” explored the relationships between quality palliative nursing care delivered in intensive care units (ICUs) and patient and family outcomes. It also explored how to measure and to improve these outcomes. The purpose of this investigator-initiated study was to examine nursing's specific contributions to quality palliative care provided to patients and their families in the ICU. This interdisciplinary team was led by Lissi Hansen and Richard Mularski.