St Francis Hospice
Publications by staff affiliated to St Francis Hospice
An exploration of the experience, confidence and attitudes of staff to the provision of palliative care to people with intellectual disabilities.Research suggests that shortcomings exist in the provision of palliative care to people with intellectual disabilities. This mixed-methods study aimed to describe the experience, confidence and attitudes of staff to the provision of palliative care to people with intellectual disabilities. The sample was drawn from the population of one Health Service Executive area in Ireland. Staff from intellectual disability and palliative care services completed surveys and participated in focus group discussions. Three hundred and eighty-nine questionnaires were distributed and 16 focus groups were held. Fifty-nine per cent of palliative care staff and 67% of intellectual disability services staff had cared for someone with intellectual disability who had died but level of experience was low. Both palliative care and intellectual disability services staff lacked confidence in their ability to provide palliative care. Staff were challenged by perceived 'differences' and 'difficulties' in the provision of care. They endorsed a partnership approach to care but focus group discussions revealed that a shared desire to cooperate was insufficient to guarantee effective collaboration.
Review of cancer pain management in patients receiving maintenance methadone therapy.Methadone is commonly used in the treatment of heroin addiction. Patients with a history of opioid misuse or on methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) with cancer often have difficult to manage pain. We studied 12 patients referred to the palliative care service with cancer pain who were on MMT. All had difficult to control pain, and a third required 5 or more analgesic agents. Two patients had documented ''drug-seeking'' behavior. Methadone was used subcutaneously as an analgesic agent in 1 patient. We explore why patients on MMT have difficult to manage pain, the optimal management of their pain, and the increasing role of methadone as an analgesic agent in cancer pain.