A Qualitative Description of Care Partner Experiences at the Palliative and Therapeutic Harmonization Clinic
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Palliative and Therapeutic Harmonization (PATH) is a novel service providing care to frail, older adults facing complex medical and surgical decisions. This qualitative study examines the role PATH plays in the experience of the care partner attendee, who often acts as a surrogate decision-maker, in order to better appreciate which features are most beneficial and identify areas for program improvement. Semi-structured interviews were held with 13 individuals and analyzed using framework analysis. Themes emerged surrounding the referral process, emotionally challenging aspect of participation, and the outcome of self-efficacy. Care partners appreciate the information and support received, but require a greater understanding of the process prior to participation. After completing PATH, care partners of dementia patients perceive themselves as better able to cope in their role as a caregiver and surrogate decision-maker. Care partners appreciate having a continued connection to the clinic, including the support of PATH during the dying process.