Building a taxonomy of integrated palliative care initiatives: results from a focus group

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Abstract

Background

Empirical evidence suggests that integrated palliative care (IPC) increases the quality of care for palliative patients and supports professional caregivers. Existing IPC initiatives in Europe vary in their design and are hardly comparable. InSuP-C, a European Union research project, aimed to build a taxonomy of IPC initiatives applicable across diseases, healthcare sectors and systems.

Methods

The taxonomy of IPC initiatives was developed in cooperation with an international and multidisciplinary focus group of 18 experts. Subsequently, a consensus meeting of 10 experts revised a preliminary taxonomy and adopted the final classification system.

Results

Consisting of eight categories, with two to four items each, the taxonomy covers the process and structure of IPC initiatives. If two items in at least one category apply to an initiative, a minimum level of integration is assumed to have been reached. Categories range from the type of initiative (items: pathway, model or guideline) to patients’ key contact (items: non-pc specialist, pc specialist, general practitioner). Experts recommended the inclusion of two new categories: level of care (items: primary, secondary or tertiary) indicating at which stage palliative care is integrated and primary focus of intervention describing IPC givers’ different roles (items: treating function, advising/consulting or training) in the care process.

Conclusions

Empirical studies are required to investigate how the taxonomy is used in practice and whether it covers the reality of patients in need of palliative care. The InSuP-C project will test this taxonomy empirically in selected initiatives using IPC.

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