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Indian J Palliat Care. 2019 Apr-Jun;25(2):181-189. doi: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_166_18.

A Qualitative Evaluation of a Home-based Palliative Care Program Utilizing Community Health Workers in India.

Author information

1
School of Nursing, University of Kansas, Kansas City, KS, USA.
2
College of Nursing, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston SC, USA.
3
Hollings Cancer Center, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston SC, USA.

Abstract

Aim:

In India, the need for rural palliative care is increasing with the rising number of people diagnosed with late-stage cancers. Rural areas also have a shortage of trained medical personnel to deliver palliative care. To address these needs, a home-based palliative care program using community health workers (CHWs) to facilitate care delivery was developed to extend the reach of a cancer center's palliative care services outside of Kolkata, India. The research question guiding this qualitative study was, how feasible, useful, and acceptable was this program from the perspectives of the clinical team and CHWs who delivered the intervention?

Methods:

This qualitative descriptive study used a grounded theory approach and the iterative constant comparative method to collect and analyze data from the key stakeholder interviews. Ten qualitative interviews took place at the Saroj Gupta Cancer Center and Research Institute and were conducted with the CHWs who delivered the home-based palliative care intervention (n = 3) and the clinical team who provided them with training, support, and supervision (n = 7).

Results:

Three major themes emerged (a) CHWs' desire and need for more training, (b) the need for tailoring of existing intervention protocols and modifying expectations of stakeholders, and (c) the need for considerations for ensuring program sustainability.

Conclusions:

The study provided evidence that the utilization of CHWs to facilitate delivery of palliative care is a feasible model worthy of consideration and further research testing in low-resource settings.

KEYWORDS:

Community health workers; India; less-developed countries; palliative care

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