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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2004 Jan;27(1):53-60.

Palliative care consultation in The Netherlands: a nationwide evaluation study.

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Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Palliative care in The Netherlands is mainly provided by generalist professionals who are part of the regular health care system. In order to provide good quality palliative care, they need options for training and consultation. Therefore, Palliative Care Consultation (PCC) teams were established, which inform, support, and advise professional caregivers involved with patients in palliative care without taking over responsibility. This study is the first nationwide study on PCC teams. Investigated was the nature and effect of consultations by registration and evaluation of consultations given by 19 PCC teams during a one-year period. Sixty-one percent of the requesting caregivers were primary care professionals and the problems discussed covered the entire field of palliative care, although physical problems played a dominant role. Although the patient was often not seen by the consultant, the consultant appeared to be able to identify more problems than initially discussed by the requesting professional. The types of problems discussed were hardly related to patient characteristics but more related to the discipline of the professional caregiver. According to the requesting professionals, consultation was helpful and contributed to improving the quality of palliative care.

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