Tailored care in frail older persons - Research Unit: Projects

Assessment in frail older persons

Symptom assessment in older persons

This project aims to explore the prevalence of symptoms in older (cancer) patients. Moreover, it aims to further develop and validate assessment tools for symptom assessment in the older person.

        • Staff: Marc Tanghe, Wim Janssens, Ruth Piers, Nele Van Den Noortgate
        • Collaborators: Aurélie Van Lancker (UGent), Maaike De Roo (UGent)

Tiredness of life in older persons

Tiredness of life in old age is frequently detected by health care providers (clinical concern) and often central in public debate since its connection with euthanasia (social concern). This research topic aims to create better insight in the underlying causes of tiredness of life in an older patient population and to get insight in the attitudes of health care providers regarding this topic.

        •  Staff: Ruth Piers, Nele Van Den Noortgate
        • Collaborators: Page workgroup (Federation of Palliative Care Flanders)

Symptom control in frail older persons

Treatment of acute locomotor pain in the geriatric patient: comparison of effectiveness and safety between two commonly used therapeutic strategies: step 2 versus step 3 of the WHO pain ladder

In this study, two commonly used, but badly studied (in the elderly), therapeutic strategies will be compared concerning effectiveness and safety. This study is simultaneously conducted in UZ Gent and in Sint-Vincentius Deinze.

        • Staff: Wim Janssens, Ruth Piers, Anja Velghe, Mirko Petrovic, Nele Van Den Noortgate
        • Collaborators: Celine Bultynck (UGent), Elisabeth De Mont (UGent), Griet Buyck (UGent)

The use of analgesic and hypno-sedative medication in the terminal phase of the geriatric patient

In this explorative medical file-study, the use of analgesics and hypno-sedative medication in the last 72 hours of life in geriatric patients, is compared between an acute geriatric ward and a palliative care service. This study is conducted in 3 different hospitals.

        •  Staff: Wim Janssen, Ruth Piers, Nele Van Den Noortgate
        • Collaborators: Kendrin Staels (UGent)

Person-centred care 

Older parents' experiences during a serious illness trajectory and after the death of an adult child: a qualitative study

As individuals live longer, the chance to be confronted at old age with cancer in an adult child increases. Research investigating the impact of illness or death of an adult child on the older parent is minimal. This qualitative research, funded by the Flemish League against Cancer will provide insight into the stressors, difficulties and dilemmas experienced by older persons regarding their position and role as a parent of an adult child with cancer. The data collection will be done through interviews in which both the older parents as the adult children are invited to tell their story.

        • Staff: Liesbeth Van Humbeeck, Let Dillen, Ruth Piers, Nele Van Den Noortgate
        • Collaborators: Mieke Grypdonck (UGent)
        • Funding: Flemish League against Cancer

Advance Care Planning: educational initiative on person-centred conversations

Currently our department is involved in the development of a guideline for health care professionals concerning ACP for persons with dementia in collaboration with the Federation of Palliative Care Flanders and Expertisecentrum Dementie. Moreover, we are striving to better tailor advance care planning to the person and his/her family members by an educational initiative on patient-centred conversations. This action research is funded by the King Baudouin Foundation.

        • Staff: Karen Versluys, Ruth Piers, Nele Van Den Noortgate
        • Collaborators: Mieke Grypdonck (UGent), Linus Vanlaere (Stimul, Rhizo), Sarah Janssens (Howest), Liselotte Van Ooteghem (GVO), Gerda Okerman (FPZV)
        • Funding: King Baudouin Foundation

Striving for connection: retaining a patient’s connectedness to their family and maintaining family connectedness in the in-hospital care for onco-geriatric patients

Our clinical expertise and several of our research projects suggest the importance of assessing the unique family dynamics and relationship patterns as well as integrating this information in the care plan. In the future our main goal is to maintain and further this emphasis on family-centred care by changing in depth the thinking pattern and attitudes of in-hospital health care providers by means of an action research approach. Our main focus will be on (1) finding ways to even more engage and involve family caregivers of onco-geriatric patients, (2) creating opportunities for them to be connected with the multidisciplinary health care team. This project is funded by the Flemish League against Cancer.

        • Staff: Liesbeth Van Humbeeck, Let Dillen, Karen Versluys, Ruth Piers, Nele Van Den Noortgate
        • Funding: Flemish League against Cancer

Inter-professional collaboration and ethical climate as key conditions for person- and provider centred care

The prevalence, risk factors and consequences of perceptions of inappropriate care are studied in healthcare providers working in geriatric care, palliative medicine, intensive care medicine and emergency medicine. This project aims to explore the quality of the ethical climate and of inter-professional collaboration and its relation with the healthcare providers’ well-being and quality of person-centred care. The effects of educational trajectories such as ‘systematic exposure experience’ and ‘moral case deliberation’ are studied by means of action research in geriatric care. The department won the price ‘Gert Noël’ for this initiative.

      •  Staff: Karen Versluys, Ruth Piers, Nele Van Den Noortgate
      • Collaborators: Dominique Benoit (UGent), Bo Van den Bulcke (UGent), Patrick Druwé (UGent), Mieke Grypdonck (UGent), Linus Vanlaere (Stimul, Rhizo) , André Vyt (Artevelde Hogeschool, UGent), Sarah Janssens (Howest), An Lievrouw (UGent)