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VOICES: South Island pilot survey of bereaved people

Aims: To test the feasibility of surveying bereaved next-of-kin in the South Island about their perceptions of end-of-life care for people over 18 years of age; to report results; and to identify issues for future research.; Method: The study used the VOICES (Views of Informal Carers Evaluation of Services) questionnaire from the UK, adapted for use in Aotearoa New Zealand. Identification of next-of-kin for all South Island deaths September-November 2017 was undertaken by a commercial firm specialising in such work. Addresses of next-of-kin were sought from the Electoral Roll, with 1,813 eligible people identified and 272 (15.0%) next-of-kin unable to be traced. Surveys were posted out once only, with options to complete by mail, online, by telephone or with a face-to-face interview.; Results: Of the 1,541 surveys distributed, 514 (33.4%) were completed. Results confirmed the suitability of the locally modified VOICES instrument and research process. The quality of care overall was rated most highly in hospice or own home, but only a minority were able to die in these settings. Nevertheless, relatives indicated that most people died 'in the best place'.; Conclusions: The VOICES questionnaire is acceptable to respondents and there are viable methods for seeking a population sample. Aspects of the questionnaire require modification before wider use. The information obtained can help district health boards, hospices other healthcare providers, and consumers in planning for end-of-life care.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
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Journal article
New Zealand Medical Association
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The New Zealand Medical Journal
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