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Human Touch via Touchscreen: Rural Nurses' Experiential Perspectives on Telehealth Use in Pediatric Hospice Care

Journal title
Journal of pain and symptom management
Publication year
2020
Author(s)
Weaver, M. S.; Neumann, M. L.; Navaneethan, H.; Robinson, J. E.; Hinds, P. S.

CONTEXT: Telemedicine has the potential to extend care reach and access to home-based hospice services for children. Few studies have explored nurse perspectives regarding this communication modality for rural pediatric cohorts. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this qualitative study was to learn from the experiences of rural hospice nurses caring for children at the end of life using telehealth modalities to inform palliative communication. METHODS: Voice-recorded qualitative interviews with rural hospice nurse telehealth users inquiring on nurse experiences with telehealth. Semantic content analysis was used. RESULTS: About 15 hospice nurses representing nine rural hospice agencies were interviewed. Nurses participated in an average of eight telehealth visits in the three months prior. Nurses were female with a mean age of 38�years and an average of seven years of hospice nursing experience. Five themes about telehealth emerged: accessible support, participant inclusion, timely communication, informed and trusted planning, and familiarity fostered. Each theme had both benefits and cautions associated as well as telehealth suggestions. Nurses recommended individualizing communication, pacing content, fostering human connection, and developing relationships even with technology use. CONCLUSION: The experiences of nurses who use telehealth in their care for children receiving end-of-life care in rural regions may enable palliative care teams to understand both the benefits and challenges of telehealth use. Nurse insights on telehealth may help palliative care teams better honor the communication needs of patients and families while striving to improve care access.

Research abstracts