A Digital Platform (Telepalliation) for Patients in Palliative Care and Their Relatives: Protocol for a Multimethod Randomized Controlled Trial

Jarl Voss Andersen Sigaard*, Nanna Celina Henneberg, Cathrine Skov Schacksen, Sissel Højsted Kronborg, Laura Petrini, Kristian Kidholm, Una Rósa Birgisdóttir, Helle Spindler, Birthe Dinesen

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Abstract

Background: The World Health Organization defines end-of-life palliative care as “prevention and relief of suffering, by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.” Over 20 million people worldwide are in need of palliative care. In Denmark, palliative care is given at a general and a specialist level. The general level comprises health care professionals (HCPs) who do not perform palliative care full-time. The specialist level comprises specialized palliative care (SPC), where HCPs perform palliative care full-time. In total, 20%-30% of patients who need palliative care are referred to SPC. Challenges with SPC include a short time span from referral to end of life, patients who are very ill and may therefore find it hard to travel to an outpatient clinic, and the SPC unit having a relatively small staff. The need for SPC is expected to rise, as the number of patients dying from terminal diseases is increasing. Telehealth has been successfully implemented in different home care settings, including palliative care. Objective: The aim of the study is to present the research design of the clinical testing of a telepalliation program by the use of a digital platform for patients in palliative care and their relatives. Methods: The telepalliation program will be conducted as a multimethod randomized controlled trial. The intervention group will follow the telepalliation program, while the control group will follow the traditional standard of care program for palliative care. The primary outcome of the study is increased quality of life. Secondary outcomes include enhanced sense of security; reduced experience of pain; satisfactory experiences of patients and relatives with the TelePal platform and degree of satisfaction in being a part of the program; experiences with the use of the TelePal platform on the part of HCPs and the professionals’ experiences of being a part of the program; the use of a cross-sector communication platform and the telepalliation program by patients, relatives, and HCPs; and the projected lower cost of health care services. These outcomes will be assessed using questionnaires, data generated by digital technologies, and semistructured interviews. Results: The collection of data began in May 2021 and will be completed in August 2024. The results of the study will be published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at international conferences. Results from the telepalliation program are expected to be published by fall 2024. Conclusions: The expected outcomes of the study are increased quality of life and increased sense of security. We also expect that the study will have a clinical impact on future telepalliation for those patients who are referred to a palliative team.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummere49946
TidsskriftJMIR Research Protocols
Vol/bind13
Antal sider10
ISSN1929-0748
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2. apr. 2024

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©Jarl Voss Andersen Sigaard, Nanna Celina Henneberg, Cathrine Skov Schacksen, Sissel Højsted Kronborg, Laura Petrini, Kristian Kidholm, Una Rósa Birgisdóttir, Helle Spindler, Birthe Dinesen.

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