This is a critique of the qualitative research article Family Perspectives on End-of-Life Care: A Metasynthesis. It is an assessment of the reliability and validity of the report. The evaluation also includes my take on the selection of the research method, appropriateness of the method and the interpretation of the results.
Reliability is the consistency and stability of measurement in varying conditions (Rosnow & Rosenthal, 1991). For a qualitative research to be reliable, it ought to collect the data it is meant for consistently. This research is about family perspectives on end-of-life (EOL) care (Jackson et al. 2012). The study is reliable because it focused on this particular issue with the different participants who were involved in the survey. Mainly, the study interviewed 19 family members. Their answers shared similar feelings both on the positive and in the negative as far as the EOL care was concerned. The participants shared common themes highlighted as the quality of death, quality of staff, transitions in points of attention and staff communication. They all expressed displeasure with any discrepancies in EOL care by the staff under the themes as mentioned earlier. On the other hand, they commended the staff for work done well. On Advance Directives (ADs), the reliability was low. ADs seemed to have been neglected by many EOL candidates, or their family members ignored them. It is essential to perform more studies on why relatives fail to follow the wishes of the elders. The research is also wanting on what comprises an adequate EOL care. More research needs to be done on strategies to encourage seniors to share their EOL preferences in advance.
Validity is the appropriateness of the research components. A researcher realizes it in four forms: statistical conclusion validity, internal validity, constructs validity and external validity. Statistical conclusion validity is about a relationship between the variables being tested. The 19 representatives of different families were interviewed in the same issue of their family perspectives on EOL care. These respondents have one thing in common: losing a family member in the past 3-18 months in a long-term care facility (Jackson et al. 2012). Internal validity is the authenticity of the research itself: does it show bias? This research was purposeful to find out the experience the deceased had in the EOL care centers with their late relatives before demise. It only targeted participants from the affected families and the late were all 81 years and above. Construct validity refers to how well a concept is transformed into a functioning reality (Trochim, 2006). The need to understand family perspectives on EOL care in long-term care settings prompted this study. The objective mentioned above guided the formulation of the interview questions hence majoring on EOL and ADs. The researcher performed a pilot study before the initial study. The research was well organized and reached out to the appropriate respondents. External validity implies the level to which the outcomes of the study can be generalized to other settings. The findings of the research reflect the situation on the ground and can be generalized that EOL care is demanding. However, future studies should investigate the change of the family perspectives over time.
The research method employed was qualitative descriptive exploratory design by interviewing family members who had lost their loved ones. The research team then did a qualitative metasynthesis design to combine the data from the 19 interviewees. This approach to the study was appropriate. However, the accuracy of the data cannot be verified because the researcher did not utilize other tools of research. Any bias and lies by the participants were factored in with the truth. Application of various instruments such as questionnaires would have given the data more credibility. How good were the participants?
The results of this research relate to the previously written literature on EOL care by providing a firsthand encounter with the affected individuals. Nevertheless, the study left a discrepancy as far as getting more details on the subject matter of EOL care is concerned. The study concentrated more on the life in the EOL long-term facilities as determined mainly by the care providers. For example, the study concurred with the written literature that continuous communication between the care staff and the family members is essential to the dying process of the aged person. There is a need for more research with a wider scope of EOL care. The objectives should move beyond what is known to the unknown. The methodology should also vary to incorporate richer and more accurate data from various quarters.
I have criticized the reliability and validity of the research Family perspectives on end-of-life care. The study had its strengths, but on the other hand, it failed to explore new dimensions of knowledge in geriatrics. The research method was effective but singled out rather than applying multiple research tools. The method was appropriate. The interpretation of the study's findings proves to reinforce the previous secondary sources on the topic.
Jackson, J., Derderian, L., White, P., Ayotte, J., Fiorini, J., Hall, R. O., & Shay, J. T. (2012). Family perspectives on end-of-life care: A Metasynthesis. Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing, 14(4), 303–311.
Rosenthal, R. and Rosnow, R. L. (1991). Essentials of Behavioral Research: Methods and Data Analysis. Second Edition. McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, pp. 46-65.
Trochim, W. M. K. (2006). Introduction to the validity. Social Research Methods. Retrieved February 4, 2017, from www.socialresearchmethods.net
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