Background The Camau Province of Vietnam has a population of over 1.2 million and the number of cancer patients needing palliative care is estimated approximately 1500. In 2010, an educational project in palliative care aiming to raise the standards of generalist palliative care for cancer patients in the community was funded by the Camau Cancer Control Committee. Therefore, as a first step, the authors undertook a survey of practitioners to evaluate key aspects of current palliative care provision in the province.
Aim To evaluate the involvement, attitudes and training needs of doctors whose work relates to palliative care for advanced cancer patients.
Method A survey of 131 doctors who attended the first workshop of the project was undertaken in Camau City in July, 2010.
Results A response rate of 71% was obtained. Palliative care provision to cancer patients was involved over 80% of rural family doctors. Pain, anorexia and fatigue were three most frequent symptoms. Over half of doctors believed that local services and home are likely appropriate place for patients with advanced cancer being cared for. The confidence levels in dyspnoea and pain management were 8% and 53%, respectively. Moreover, only one-tenth of doctors had experienced training in palliative care in 2 years recently.
Conclusions Palliative care for cancer patients formed a small but significant part of rural family doctors' caseload. The majority of respondents indicate their willingness to engage further with palliative care at their workplace. However, there are still barriers that prevent them from providing sound palliative care to cancer patients who need it. Lack of training in the field is more likely the most challenging issue.
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