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action research, hospice, Italy, palliative care, patient-centered care



  1. Dobrina, Raffaella MES, RN
  2. Tenze, Maja MNS, RN
  3. Palese, Alvisa MNS, RN


Patient-centered care is valued by health care professionals working in palliative care settings. However, studies have revealed the difficulty of adopting patient-centered care in daily practice and of sharing its meaning within the interdisciplinary team. The aim of this study was to report the process of transforming end-of-life care by implementing a patient-centered model of care in an Italian hospice. An action research process was conducted between June 2012 and June 2014. The following phases were performed: (a) "looking" phase: the diagnosis was established by collecting data through semistructured interviews in the field study and through the administration of the Frommelt Attitude Toward the Care of the Dying Scale Form B-Italian Version; (b) "thinking" phase: staff members, guided by a research team, redesigned practice by identifying priorities in improvements and actions through multiprofessional focus groups; (c) "acting" phase: actions identified in the previous phase were implemented; and (d) "relooking" phase: the same data collection processes used in the looking phase were applied to evaluate the outcomes achieved. Three areas of improvement have been established: (1) symptoms were intensively audited through patient self-reports by using validated tools; (2) patients' family needs were also regularly collected, documented in clinical records, and addressed; (3) patients' family members were involved in the plan of care through support and education. Inpatient hospice health carers in this study were aware of the concept of patient-centered care. However, its actual implementation was lacking. An action research approach helped them to implement expected changes.