“I Am a Human”: A Process Evaluation of a Nurse-Led Community-Based, Palliative Care Program in Liberia, West Africa : Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing

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“I Am a Human”

A Process Evaluation of a Nurse-Led Community-Based, Palliative Care Program in Liberia, West Africa

Lusaka, Joseph MPH, BSc, HM, DCM, PA; Kpoeh, Julius D.N. BSN, ASN, RN; Crowell, Jacqueline P. MPhil, BA; Gowa, Martha Sekey BSN, RN; Hardy, Dehcontee M. BSN, RN; Karanja, Viola MSc, BSN, RN/M; Rosa, William E. PhD, MBE, NP-BC, FAANP, FPCN, FAAN

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Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing 25(3):p 137-145, June 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000944


Liberia is a postwar, post-Ebola, and low-income nation in West Africa with minimal to no palliative care access. In 2017, Partners In Health in collaboration with the Liberian Ministry of Health invested in the development of a nurse-led, community-based palliative care team in southeastern Maryland County at JJ Dossen Memorial Hospital. Between 2017 and 2022, the 9-member team (8 nurses, 1 physician assistant) has enrolled 142 patients under their care. This is a qualitative process evaluation eliciting the experiences, perspectives, and attitudes of patients with cancer to inform future palliative care program delivery improvement and development. Using an exploratory design, n = 8 participants were interviewed using a semi-structured guide. The sample had a mean age of 48 years with an average palliative care clinic enrollment period of 22.5 weeks at the time of interview. The interdisciplinary coding team used an applied thematic text analysis approach and identified 5 themes: history and disease progression, follow-up clinic services, psychological distress and its sources, social support, and spiritual and cultural beliefs. Implications emphasize the need for increased community engagement, primary palliative care capacity development of clinical colleagues in the region, and the support of local and national decision-makers to prioritize palliative care service expansion.

Copyright © 2023 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association. All rights reserved.

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