Developing and Evaluating a Psychological Intervention for use in Palliative Care
Galfin, John Melvin
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
As a GWR research project joint funded by Hospiscare, the main objective of this research was to examine the nature of psychological distress in palliative care, with the specific purpose of developing and evaluating accessible psychological interventions suitable for Hospiscare staff to use with clients. There is evidence that palliative care patients and their caregivers experience psychological difficulties including (a) studies of depression and anxiety in palliative care; (b) the concerns expressed by palliative care patients and their caregivers. However, the studies are generally qualitative in nature based on interviews of small samples of participants. Therefore, Study 1 and Study 2 adopted a cross-sectional design to examine psychological distress and rumination in samples of palliative care patients, their caregivers and an age-matched control group. The results from Study 1 and Study 2 indicated that psychological distress and rumination on existential concerns were elevated in palliative care patients and their caregivers. Furthermore, findings suggested an association between psychological distress and abstract rumination. Study 3 reported a case series piloting an intervention developed from concreteness training (CT) designed to address abstract rumination in palliative care. The case series indicated that with some modification to the identification and screening of patients, the treatment could be acceptable and feasible for palliative care patients. Study 4 examined the effectiveness of the CT guided self-help intervention in a randomized controlled trial. Findings indicated that the intervention could be effective for reducing anxiety, but not depression in palliative care patients. Moreover, Study 5’s findings also raised the possibility that abstractness was a partial mediator of the effects of the intervention on self-reported symptoms of anxiety in palliative care patients. Study 5 utilised a cluster randomized controlled design to evaluate a training programme designed to teach hospice staff how to deliver the CT guided self-help intervention. Results indicated that there was a more positive impact of routine care on patient distress for nurses attending training, when compared to nurses not attending the training. However, the training did not impact on nurses’ self-reported confidence or behaviour in addressing patients’ distress.
Great Western Research and Hospiscare
Galfin, J. M., Watkins, E. R., & Harlow, T. (2010). Psychological distress and rumination in palliative care patients and their caregivers. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 13, 1345-1348.
Galfin, J. M. & Watkins, E. R. (in press) Construal level, rumination, and psychological distress in palliative care. Psycho-oncology.
Galfin, J. M., Watkins, E. R., & Harlow, T. (in press). A brief guided self-help intervention for psychological distress in palliative care patients: a randomized controlled trial. Palliative Medicine.
Galfin, J. M., Watkins, E. R., & Harlow, T. (2011) An evaluation of a training programme to teach a brief guided self-help psychological intervention to hospice staff. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 17, 119-124.
PhD in Psychology