QUB awarded over £263k to develop advance care planning for nursing homes during COVID-19

  • A nursing research team from Queen’s University Belfast has been awarded a £263,701 grant to create an online advance care planning resource for nursing homes during a Covid-19 outbreak.

    Advance care planning describes the discussion between an individual, family and care provider where their choices or decisions are set on record.

    The group from QUB’s School of Nursing and Midwifery is joined by investigators from Lancaster University, Marie Curie Edinburgh and Dementia UK.

    They plan to develop and evaluate an online advance care planning COVID-centric intervention for training nursing home staff and will provide an informational support resource for their family carers.

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    QUB’s Prof Kevin Brazil is principal investigator on the study and specialises in palliative care. He said: “It is likely that nursing homes in the UK will become clusters in their communities for the worst cases of Covid-19.

    “Since all nursing home residents are at substantial risk, nursing home care staff need to know what residents would want to happen should they become infected with Covid-19. An outbreak imposes a significant social and emotional cost for both isolated residents and their family and carers.”

    In the context of a coronavirus outbreak, the advance care planning online resource will:
    a) enhance knowledge of conducting end-of-life discussions during COVID distancing measures.
    b) improve ability for staff to assess resident needs and respond more appropriately in relation to advance care planning.
    c) enhance decision making among family members regarding resident care.
    d) improve communication between care home staff and family carers regarding their relative's health care needs.
    e) enhance staff and family carer knowledge, attitudes and behaviour concerning the care of the resident at the end of life.
    f) increase evidence of advance care plans.

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    The research is co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of the UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to COVID-19, and the Health and Social Care Research & Development Division (HSC R&D Division) of the Public Health Agency.

    Dr Clive Wolsley, programme manager at Health and Social Care Research & Development Division said: “Research like this will help to ensure that the best evidence is available to staff to guide the advice around planning for end of life for those in nursing homes and confirms Northern Ireland researchers are at the forefront of this national work in advanced care planning research. ”

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