Improving the care of the dying in acute hospitals. Nurses perceptions of the impact of the Liverpool Care Pathway

B. Jack, M. Gambles, D. Murphy, J. Ellershaw

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Background: The last decade has seen the widespread development of care pathways in many areas of healthcare provision across the UK. Approximately 56% of cancer patients die in hospital and in order to transfer the hospice model of care for the dying patient into other settings, the Liverpool Care of the Dying Pathway (LCP) was developed. This mulitprofessional pathway provides an evidence based framework for the dying phase. Providing guidance on the different aspects of care required including: comfort measures, anticipatory prescribing of medication, and discontinuation of inappropriate interventions. Additionally psychological and spiritual care and family support is included. However, little evidence exists to illustrate the views of nurses regarding the impact of the LCP. The aim of this study was to explore nurses’ perceptions of the impact of the LCP in the acute hospital setting. Methodology: A qualitative methodology using focus groups interviews was adopted for the study to enable group discussion and interaction to take place. A purposive sample of palliative care network nurses familiar with the LCP were invited to participate in the study. 15 ward based nurses from across the hospital participated in two audio taped focus groups. Data was analysed for emerging themes using thematic analysis. Results and Discussion: The results suggest that generally nurses have found the LCP has a positive impact on patients including reducing inappropriate routine care, enhanced symptom control, and improved communication for relatives. Additionally they reported the positive impact on doctors and nurses including increased confidence in their care of dying patients. A potential negative factor concerning the barriers to its usage was also highlighted. This paper discusses the results and explores potential reasons for the findings.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2004
EventPalliative Care Congress - University of Warwick, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Mar 200419 Mar 2004


ConferencePalliative Care Congress
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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