BACKGROUND: Earlier research has shown that physicians and nurses are motivated to provide good palliative care, but several factors prevail that prevent the best care for dying patients. To provide good palliative care it is vital that the relationship between nurses and physicians is one based on trust, respect and sound communication. However, in settings such as a coronary care unit, disagreement sometimes occurs between different professional groups regarding care of dying patients.
AIM AND OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to describe and understand physicians' and nurses' perceptions on their working relationship with one another and on palliative care in a coronary care unit setting.
DESIGN: Using a convenience sample, professional caregivers were interviewed at their work in a coronary care unit in Sweden.
METHODS: Data collection and analysis were done concurrently using a qualitative approach.
RESULTS: From the interviews, a specific pattern of concepts was identified. The concepts were associated with a dignified death, prerequisites for providing good palliative care and obstacles that prevented such care.
CONCLUSIONS: Caregivers who work in a coronary care unit are highly motivated to provide the best possible care and to ensure a dignified death for their patients. Nevertheless, they sometimes fail in their intentions because of several obstacles that prevent good quality care from being fully realized.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: To improve practice, more attention should be paid to increasing dying patients' well-being and participation in care, improving strategic decision-making processes, offering support to patients and their relatives, and improving communication and interaction among caregivers working in a coronary care unit. Caregivers will be able to support patients and relatives better if there are good working relations in the work team and through better communication among the various professional caregivers.
2004. Vol. 13, no 2, 185-93 p.