Healthcare providers working in acute care hospitals have significant exposure to cancer patients with palliative care needs, and for the majority of patients these reflect non-specialist rather than specialist palliative care needs. Embedding non-specialist palliative care in acute hospital-based care is challenging. The aim of this paper is to present a core set of indicators for the provision of non-specialist palliative care in hospitals which was determined using a Delphi consensus process.
Preliminary indicators derived from a concept analysis and systematic review were subjected to a three round modified Delphi study, whereby a multidisciplinary expert panel of key stakeholders appraised (rated) each preliminary indicator on its ‘importance’ to non-specialist palliative care provision in hospitals. Stakeholders were also offered an opportunity to add ‘new’ indicators as they considered relevant. Consensus was defined whereby 70%, or more, of the participants across stakeholder groups agreed that an indicator was ‘core’ to non-specialist palliative care provision in the hospital setting.
A total of 92 experts (74% response rate) representing the views of patients, clinicians and researchers, from twelve countries participated in the final round. This study resulted in 32 core indicators of hospital based non-specialist palliative care, categorised into 5 structural indicators (relating to infrastructure and governance), 21 organisational indicators (relating to clinical care processes) and 6 staff indicators (relating to training and support for healthcare providers).
This study presents the first guidance for clinical practice, policy and research related to non-specialist palliative care provision in hospitals, based on evidence and International consensus from all key stakeholder groups. These indicators provide a means to assess, review, and communicate the core elements of non-specialist palliative care in hospitals, thereby setting a benchmark for changes in policy and practice.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
Health Research Board.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.