BMJ Support Palliat Care 1:19-32 doi:10.1136/bmjspcare-2011-000028
  • Research

What questionnaires exist to measure the perceived competence of generalists in palliative care provision? A critical literature review

  1. Taima Campbell2
  1. 1Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  2. 2Auckland District Health Board, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Rosemary Frey, School of Nursing, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, PO Box 92019, Auckland Mail Centre, Auckland, New Zealand; rfrey{at}


Background The increase in the numbers of patients requiring palliative care input prior to death, and a global economic situation where few countries are able to invest further in specialist palliative care services, has meant an increased focus upon ‘generalist palliative care provision’. The goal of the present review is to ascertain what questionnaire tools exist to measure the perceived competence of generalists in palliative care provision.

Method A systematic review of both qualitative and quantitative literature was undertaken. Medline, Medline in Progress, PubMed and CINAHL databases as well as hand searches of Palliative Medicine, International Journal of Palliative Nursing and the Journal of Palliative Care were conducted for the period 1990–2010. A checklist adapted from Hawker et al (Appraising the evidence: reviewing disparate data systematically. Qual Health Res 2002;12:1284–99) was used to select and assess data.

Results 19 of the 1361 articles met the inclusion criteria. Overall, a lack of validation and a focus upon the physical aspects of symptom management was apparent. No single validated questionnaire to measure perceived competence in palliative care management among health professionals involved in generalist palliative care management could be identified.

Conclusion The rising prominence paid to generalist care provision points to an urgent need for further development of comprehensive and validated perceived competence measurement tools.


  • Funding The funding for this research was provided by the University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. The sponsor did not have any involvement in the planning, execution or write-up of the research. Additionally the funder played no role in drafting the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Accepted 2 May 2011.

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