Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Perceived Quality of Palliative Care in Nursing Homes.

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The Nursing Homes End-of-life Programme (NUHELP) was developed in 2017 and is based on quality standards of palliative care, but it was not implemented due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. To describe perceptions among staff at nursing homes and primary health care (PHC) centres regarding the relevance, feasibility, and degree of achievement of quality standards for palliative care in nursing homes and to determine the differences in these perceptions before and after the pandemic. Cross-sectional descriptive study. Professionals at eight nursing homes and related PHC centres who participated in NUHELP development assessed 42 palliative care standards at two time points (2018 and 2022). The Mann-Whitney U test was applied to analyse differences in the scores between these two times and between perceptions at nursing homes and at PHC centres. The study population consisted of 58 professionals in 2018 and 50 in 2022. The standard regarding communication with persons affected by the death of a family member was considered less relevant (p = 0.05), and that concerning the culturally sensitive and dignified treatment of the body was less fully achieved (p = 0.03) in 2022 than in 2018. Social support (p = 0.04), sharing information among the care team (p = 0.04), patient participation (p = 0.04) and information about the treatment provided (p = 0.03) were all more poorly achieved in 2022 than in 2018. The perceptions of nursing home and PHC workers differed in several respects. Professional intercommunication and social support should be reinforced, and residents should be more actively involved in decision-making.
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COVID-19, SARSCOV2, nursing homes, palliative care, palliative medicine, primary care