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Is the content of guidelines/pathways a barrier for the integration of palliative Care in Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) and chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD)?: A comparison with the case of cancer in Europe

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number62
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>28/11/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>BMC Palliative Care
Issue number1
Number of pages8
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


BACKGROUND: There is a notable inequity in access to palliative care (PC) services between cancer and Chronic Heart Failure (CHF)/Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients which also translates into discrepancies in the level of integration of PC. By cross-examining the levels of PC integration in published guidelines/pathways for CHF/COPD and cancer in Europe, this study examines whether these discrepancies may be attributed to the content of the guidelines.

DESIGN: A quantitative evaluation was made between integrated PC in published guidelines for cancer and CHF/COPD in Europe. The content of integrated PC in guidelines/pathways was measured using an 11 point integrated PC criteria tool (IPC criteria). A statistical analysis was carried out to detect similarities and differences in the level of integrated PC between the two groups.

RESULTS: The levels of integration between CHF/COPD and cancer guidelines/pathways have been shown to be statistically similar. Moreover, the quality of evidence utilized and the date of development of the guidelines/pathways appear not to impact upon the PC integration in the guidelines.

CONCLUSION: In Europe, the empirically observed imbalance in integration of PC for patients with cancer and CHF/COPD may only partially be attributed to the content of the guidelines/pathways that are utilized for the PC implementation. Given the similarities detected between cancer and CHF/COPD, other barriers appear to play a more prominent role.