Background: The quality of palliative care is the foremost preoccupation of clinicians, decision-makers, and managers as well as patients and families. Major input from healthcare professionals is required to develop indicators for the quality of palliative care, but the involvement of patients and families is also recognized as essential, even though this is rarely achieved in practice.
Aim: The objectives of this study were to identify (1) convergences and divergences in the points of view of different stakeholders (patients, families, healthcare professionals) relative to key elements of the quality of palliative care and (2) avenues for refining existing indicators of quality of palliative care.
Design: Cross-sectional qualitative study.
Setting/participants: There were six settings: two hospital-based palliative care units, one hospice, and three other medical units where a mobile palliative care team intervene. Semi-structured interviews were conducted among 61 patients, families, healthcare professionals, and managers.
Results: Four major dimensions of quality of care are deemed critical by patients, their families, and professionals: comprehensive support for the patients themselves, clinical management, involvement of families, and care for the imminently dying person and death. Differences exist between various stakeholders regarding perceptions of some dimensions of quality of care. Avenues for improving current quality of care indicators are identified.
Conclusion: Our study results can be used to refine or develop quality indicators that truly mirror the points of view of patients and their families and of healthcare professionals.
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