27 Understanding public attitudes: a crucial component for developing palliative care services

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Abstract

Introduction

A major challenge in developing new models of palliative care is to identify the current needs of the public patients and carer (Dixon 2015). There is a lack of evidence on people’s attitudes towards end of life care (EoLC) in Wales.

Aim

To increase understanding of people’s feelings views knowledge and preferences around EoLC.

Method

An online survey was conducted using an electronic survey tool. Descriptive statistics and thematic analysis were used to perform data analysis.

Results

2210 people (Age: Mean +SD; 55+14 years) participated in the survey 43% of those were members of the general public 29% were patients/carers and 23% were health professionals. 49% of respondents thought that available palliative care was inadequate and 92% believed that end of life care for dying people should have equal priority for the NHS. 95% of respondents thought that expressing preferences around EoLC in advance was important but only 13% had done this in practice and 60% did not know how to plan their EoLC. However the top three needs in EoLC were identified as having a trained carer (84%) access to other professionals (59%) and emergency care (44%). The top three preferences for EoLC were being surrounded by loved ones (62%) maintaining dignity (55%) and a feeling of peace (40%). Just 24% respondents would chose to be at home while receiving EoLC.

Conclusions

Understanding public attitudes is essential to understanding changing contexts of care. Developing a need-based palliative care model enhances an effective service delivery.

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