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Palliative care for patients with heart failure: facilitators and barriers - a cross sectional survey of German health care professionals



Palliative care for patients with heart failure: facilitators and barriers - a cross sectional survey of German health care professionals



Bmc Health Services Research 16(A): 361



Compared to patients with cancer, heart failure patients are seldom candidates for palliative care. Numerous studies have investigated reasons why heart failure patients do not receive palliative care; however, none of these studies have ever evaluated the situation in the German health care setting. This study aims to identify German healthcare providers' (HCP) perception of barriers and facilitators to palliative care of patients with chronic heart failure. We conducted an online-survey with 315 nurses and physicians of different medical disciplines. Even though heart failure patients' need of palliative care and its advantages has been recognized, HCP see potential for development and improvement. A lack of knowledge about the content and measures of palliative care, poor communication and unclear responsibilities between medical disciplines, difficulties to determine the right time to initiate palliative care, and the feeling not to be prepared to discuss end-of-life issues with the patient has been identified as barriers. Further, HCP believe that patients and relatives do not possess adequate knowledge about the disease and its progression and are therefore unprepared in asking questions regarding palliative care. They rather tend to demand everything possible to be done in order prolong life, and are reluctant to accept that life is limited. Overall, HCP perceive that dying is a taboo subject within our society placing palliative care on the same level as assisted dying. In addition, results indicate that HCP have an inappropriate notion of ideal medicine fearing to lose patient and are worried about the appropriateness of PC remuneration. In order to overcome the described barriers, HCP, patients, and relatives need to be educated in palliative care. Information and education encompassing the aim, content and measures of palliative care needs to be provided for all parties in order to optimize patient care, to foster communication between healthcare professionals, patients, and relatives, and to overcome perceived barriers. DRKS00007119.

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Accession: 058499424

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PMID: 27503510

DOI: 10.1186/s12913-016-1609-x


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