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BMC Palliat Care. 2018 Aug 24;17(1):103. doi: 10.1186/s12904-018-0356-7.

Professionals' perceptions and current practices of integrated palliative care in chronic heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a qualitative study in Belgium.

Author information

1
Department of Experimental Radiotherapy and Palliative Care, UZ Leuven, Campus Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, 3000, Leuven, Belgium. naouma.siouta@kuleuven.be.
2
Department of Experimental Oncology, UZ Leuven, Campus Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, 3000, Leuven, Belgium.
3
Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Academic Center for General Practice, Kapucijnenvoer 33, 3000, Leuven, Belgium.
4
Department of Experimental Radiotherapy and Palliative Care, UZ Leuven, Campus Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, 3000, Leuven, Belgium.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Patients with Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) and patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) share similar symptom burden with cancer patients, however, they are unlikely to receive palliative care (PC) services. This article examines the perceptions of health care professionals and the current practices of integrated palliative care (IPC) in Belgium.

METHODS:

Cardiologists and pulmonologists, working in primary care hospitals in Belgium, participated in this study with semi-structured interviews based on IPC indicators. One researcher collected, transcribed verbatim the interviews and carried out their thematic analysis. To increase the reliability of the coding, a second researcher coded a random 30% of the interviews.

RESULTS:

A total of 22 CHF/COPD specialists participated in the study. The results show that IPC and its potential benefits are viewed positively. A number of IPC components like the holistic approach (physical, psychological, social, spiritual aspects) via multidisciplinary teams, prognosis discussion and illness limitations, patient goals assessment, continuous goal adjustment, reduction of suffering and advanced care planning are partially implemented in several health centers. However, PC specialists are absent from such implementations and PC is still an end-of-life care.

CONCLUSIONS:

Misconceptions about PC and its association to death and end-of-life appear to be decisive factors for the exclusion of PC specialists and the late initiation of PC itself. The implementation of IPC components is not associated to PC, and as such, leads to suboptimal results. Improved education and enhanced communication is expected to alleviate existing challenges and thus improve the quality of life for the patients.

KEYWORDS:

Chronic obstructive; Heart failure; Palliative care; Pulmonary disease; Quality of health care

PMID:
30143036
PMCID:
PMC6109336
DOI:
10.1186/s12904-018-0356-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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