Clinicians' and nurses' documentation practices in palliative and hospice care.

Journal article

Natuhwera, Germans, Rabwoni, Martha, Ellis, Peter and Merriman, Anne 2021. Clinicians' and nurses' documentation practices in palliative and hospice care. International Journal of Palliative Nursing. 27 (5), pp. 227-234.
AuthorsNatuhwera, Germans, Rabwoni, Martha, Ellis, Peter and Merriman, Anne
AbstractHealth workers are likely to document patients' care inaccurately, especially when using new and revised case tools, and this could negatively impact patient care. To assess nurses' and clinicians' documentation practices when using a new patients' continuation case sheet (PCCS) and explore nurses' and clinicians' experiences regarding the documentation of patients' information in the new PCCS. The purpose of introducing the PCCS was to improve the continuity of care for patients attending clinics at which they were unlikely to consistently see the same clinician or nurse. This was a mixed-methods study. The cross-sectional inquiry retrospectively reviewed 100 case notes of active patients in a hospice and palliative care programme. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire with constructs formulated from the new PCCS under study. The qualitative element was face-to-face, audio-recorded, open-ended interviews with a purposive sample of one palliative care clinician and four palliative care nurse specialists. Thematic analysis was used. Patients' biogeographic information was missing in 5% to 10% case notes. Spiritual and psychosocial issues were not documented in 42.6% of patients' case notes and vital signs, in 49.2%. The poorest documentation practices were observed in the past medical history part of the PCCS, noted in 40%-63% of the 100 case notes included in this study. Four themes emerged from interviews with clinicians and nurses: (1) what remains unclear and challenges; (2) comparing the past with the present; (3) experiential thoughts, and; (4) transition and adapting to change. The PCCS seems to be a comprehensive and simple tool that can be used to document patients' information at subsequent visits. To increase its reliability and validity, clinicians and nurses need training on how to use it. Clinicians and nurses need to prioritise accurate and complete documentation of patient care in the PCCS to ensure quality care provision. This study should be extended to other sites using similar tools to ensure representative and generalisable findings.
KeywordsQuality improvement; Documentation; Information case sheet
JournalInternational Journal of Palliative Nursing
Journal citation27 (5), pp. 227-234
PublisherMark Allen Group
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Official URL
Publication dates
Online02 Jul 2021
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Aug 2021
Output statusPublished
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