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Social Work Integration and Performance of Palliative Care at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi County, Kenya

Abstract:

This study investigated the integration of social work and performance of palliative care at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi city county Kenya. Palliative care is an approach aimed at improving the quality of life of patients and families facing life threatening or life limiting illnesses through early identification and control of symptoms. Social workers play an important role in the delivery of Palliative Care; they encounter adults, children and families who are facing progressive life limiting illness, dying, death, or bereavement. A multidisciplinary team-based approach is better equipped than any one clinician alone, in creating an environment to address all components of care for seriously ill patients. The study examined the relationship between the integration of social work and the performance of palliative care. It also looked at the influence of needs assessment to inform decision making and plan of care. The role of communication and inter-collaborative approach in palliative care. Social cultural influence on palliative care was also interrogated. The study was an explorative research since few studies have been done in this area, the study design was mixed method, quantitative data was analyzed by the use of SPSS and qualitative data was organized into themes and analyzed thematically. The study findings were presented frequency tables, figures, charts and graphs. The study established that social work integration in palliative care is very important with 92.9%. 91.9% agreed that social work integration and needs assessment is very important while 92.9% agreed to the need of effective communication amongst the team and between the team, patient and family at the end of life. Similarly 83.9% agreed that understanding individual sociocultural, spiritual and beliefs is very important in palliative care. The study concluded and recommended that, working together provides the best quality of care and encourages sharing of information and coordination in the team which is critical. Need assessment to include pain, depression, anxiety, nausea, fatigue and wellbeing is of utmost importance. Communication between the team, patient and family is essential in the end of life care. Socio-cultural practices in palliative care must be considered.

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