Compassion and collaborative practice are individually associated with high quality healthcare. When combined in a compassionate collaborative care (CCC) practice framework, they are reported to improve health, strengthen care provision, and control health costs. Little is known about how to integrate and measure CCC, yet it is fundamentally applied in palliative and end-of-life care settings. This study aimed to identify quality indicators of CCC by systematically reviewing and synthesizing the current state of the palliative and end-of-life care literature.
An integrative review of the palliative and end-of-life care literature was conducted using Whittemore and Knafl’s method. Donabedian’s healthcare quality framework was applied in the data analysis phase to organize and display the data. The analysis involved an iterative process that applied a constant comparative method.
The final literature sample included 25 articles. Patient and family-centered care emerged as a primary structure for CCC, with overarching values including empathy, sharing, respect, and partnership. The analysis revealed communication, shared decision-making, and goal setting as overarching processes for achieving CCC at end-of-life. Patient and family satisfaction, enhanced teamwork, decreased staff burnout, and organizational satisfaction are exemplars of outcomes that suggest high quality CCC. Specific quality indicators at the individual, team and organizational levels are reported with supporting exemplar data.
CCC is inextricably linked to the inherent values, needs and expectations of patients, families and healthcare providers. Compassion and collaboration must be enacted and harmonized to fully operationalize and sustain patient and family-centered care in palliative and end-of-life practice settings. Towards that direction, the quality indicators that emerged from this integrative review provide a two-fold application in palliative and end-of-life care. First, to evaluate the existing structures, processes, and outcomes at the patient-family, provider, team, and organizational levels. Second, to guide the planning and implementation of team and organizational changes that improve the quality delivery of CCC.