Holistic treatment of the patient in palliative care – The nurses view

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Introduction. Man is a unique, unrepeatable whole in space and time and that is why he requires a holistic treatment, taking into account physical, psychological, social and spiritual factors. The balanced factors can ensure human well-being and his quality of life. Integrated treatment is especially important for patients in palliative care, which was the basic starting point of our research. In our research we wanted to establish whether the patients in palliative care are treated holistically from the perspective of the nurses and where are the specific aspects of palliative care (psychological, physical, social and spiritual) more visible - in the hospitals or in the home environment.

Material and methods. The questionnaire survey was based on the empirical quantitative methodology; a descriptive causal non-experimental method was used. The number of the included sample was 127 nurses (92 hospital nurses, 35 community nurses). To test the differences between the groups (hospital, community nursing), the single factor analysis of variance was used. All the research participants were ensured anonymity and they had the right to withdraw from the study before or during the questionnaire completion.

Results. The physical aspect of the treatment was statistically significantly higher assessed by nurses in a hospital setting (̅χ =3.83; s=1.012; p=0.042). The psychological and spiritual aspects were higher assessed in community nursing setting and social aspect in hospital setting.

Conclusions. Our research has highlighted the shortcomings of the holistic approach in palliative care. Nurses need in-depth knowledge and skills as well as practice within each holistic domain to perform quality treatment of palliative patients.

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