Background: Clinical pathways aim to ensure that individuals receive appropriate evidence-based care and interventions, with the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient focusing on end of life. However, controlled studies of the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient, particularly outside of cancer settings, are lacking.
Aim: To compare the effects of the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient and usual care on patients’ symptom distress and well-being during the last days of life, in residential care homes.
Design: Exploratory, controlled before-and-after study. During a 15-month baseline, usual care was carried out in two areas. During the following 15-months, usual care continued in the control area, while residential care home staff implemented Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient use in the intervention area. The intervention was evaluated by family members completing retrospective symptom assessments after the patient’s death, using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System and Views of Informal Carers – Evaluation of Services.
Settings/participants: Patients who died at all 19 residential care homes in one municipality in Sweden.
Results: Shortness of breath (estimate = −2.46; 95% confidence interval = −4.43 to −0.49) and nausea (estimate = −1.83; 95% confidence interval = −3.12 to −0.54) were significantly reduced in Edmonton Symptom Assessment System in patients in the intervention compared to the control area. A statistically significant improvement in shortness of breath was also found on the Views of Informal Carers – Evaluation of Services item (estimate = −0.47; 95% confidence interval = −0.85 to −0.08).
Conclusion: When implemented with adequate staff training and support, the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient may be a useful tool for providing end-of-life care of elderly people at the end of life in non-cancer settings.