Assess the social issues for patient Catherine Murray and her family.
Caring for the Patient and Family in Palliative Care

Assignment Guidelines
Assignment Aim: The assignment offers you the opportunity to explore and apply the evidence base to the psychological, social and spiritual care they offer to patients and families in the palliative care phase of life threatening illness and at the end of life.
The Assignment – consists of two components which are set out below:

• A critical analysis of a family case study (2000 words), you will be provided with a relevant case study.

It is suggested, in relation to your role, you will:
• Critically analyse the case study identifying the actual and potential psychological, social and spiritual issues for the family.
• The analysis should include issues of individual health care professional and/or team stress.
• Devise a genogram or ecomap of the patient and family.

The main focus of the assignment should be ONE aspect of psychological, social or spiritual care for which you should:-

• Explore and analyse the evidence base using available literature, research and guidelines for practice
• Apply findings to the patient and family in the case study, this should include assessment approaches and interventions
• Indicate the role that you may have as part of the interdisciplinary team caring for the patient and family.

A reflective account analysing the integration of module theory into practice (1000 words)
It is suggested, in relation to your role, you will:-
• Reflect on the content of the module and how it could be/has been integrated into your practice
• Provide a reflective account which justifies the use/potential use of content from the module in your practice
• Make reference to the evidence base for psychological, social or spiritual care in palliative care practice and the module content
• Use a recognised model of reflection to assist the process.
Refer to the Learning Outcomes of the module, the shaded area in the module descriptor, to guide your work and to make sure your assignment is meeting them.
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Caring for the Patient and Family in Palliative Care

Assignment Case Study
Catherine Murray (50) has an advanced progressive disease. Her immediate pain and symptom
problems have been managed and the team must now assess the psychological, social and spiritual issues facing this patient and family.

Catherine’s life threatening illness was diagnosed last year. She underwent treatment and initially felt much better. Catherine seemed to accept the original diagnosis well, trying to hold things together at home and continued to help her husband with the paperwork for his small painting and decorating business.
At a recent appointment however she was told her disease had not responded to treatment and
her life was now likely to be measured in months. Her condition has since deteriorated and she no longer goes out, not wanting anyone ‘to see me like this’.

Catherine has been married to Brian for thirty years after meeting at school. Brian works long hours and worries about the future of his business, especially in the current financial climate. He is increasingly concerned about his wife, but unsure what to do. Brian has never attended clinic appointments with Catherine, but is aware of her expected prognosis. He is reluctant to talk to Catherine about her illness in case he upsets her. She has always been a fighter and he feels that facing her illness will make her give up hope. Brian has never discussed her illness with his friends or workmates.
Catherine’s parents died many years ago. She is close to her mother-in-law Nancy who has always lived nearby and helped out with their family. Nancy’s husband Alec died suddenly and unexpectedly last year, just about the time that Catherine became unwell. Although in her late seventies, Nancy is fit and well. She now spends most of her time with Catherine doing most of the housework and cooking. Alec was the driving force in the family business and Brian has felt the loss of his father both practically and emotionally.

Catherine and Brian have a daughter Gemma (25) who lives a few miles away. Gemma has recently broken up from a long term relationship and has a son Luke (5). Catherine and Brian have always looked after Luke at weekends to enable their daughter to work. Gemma however has decided Luke is too much for Catherine and only brings him for short visits now.

Catherine and Brian also have a son Martin (22). He is travelling with friends, having dropped out of college causing his parents to worry about what the future may hold for him. Martin sends humorous emails from all over Europe to the computer in his father’s office. Gemma and Martin do not keep in regular contact with each other.

Catherine confided to Nancy yesterday that she can make no sense of what is going on and feels her family are falling apart. Nancy feels weepy and exhausted, finding it difficult to cope with Catherine’s distress and her reluctance to accept professional help.

To pacify her family Catherine has agreed to be seen at home by the district nursing team. One member of the team is anxious about working with this family because the circumstances relate closely to her mother’s death last year.

Fictitious case study for assignment purposes only: September 2015