Background Palliative care is based on the principles of holistic care, incorporating pain and symptom management, provision of psychological, social and spiritual support and achievement of the best quality of life for the patient and their family (NICE 2011). The iWGC survey is designed to measure patient satisfaction with palliative care in Wales. In addition to nine questions on a Likert scale it includes a free text box within which a patient or family member is invited to write about any aspect of their care. This acknowledges that measuring satisfaction is predicated on an understanding of care from the perspective of the patient and their family.
Aims To analyse free text data from a Wales-wide questionnaire survey of patient satisfaction with care.
Methods Analysis of free text responses (n=595) using qualitative methods allowed for the emergence of key themes from the point of view of service users, rather than based upon prior assumptions or hypotheses.
Results Analytic themes related to concerns, features, resources and consequences of care. This led to a focus on the emotional experience of care, and the language used by respondents to construct their understanding of palliative care. Patients and family members, usually also carers, recognised and prioritised good palliative care and highlighted the significance of the palliative care service in facilitating as well as providing care.
Conclusions Analysis highlighted that respondents distinguished between their personal experiences and their concerns about continued funding of palliative care, provision of more palliative care staff, better resources and facilities and a desire for access to palliative care on a continuous basis.
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