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What tools are available to identify patients with palliative care needs in primary care: a systematic literature review and survey of European practice
  1. Elke Arnoldina Theodora Maas1,
  2. Scott A Murray2,
  3. Yvonne Engels3 and
  4. Christine Campbell4
  1. 1Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  2. 2Primary Palliative care Research Group, Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3Department of Anaesthesiology, Pain and Palliative Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  4. 4Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Scott A Murray, Primary Palliative Care Research Group, Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Doorway 3, Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH8 9AG, UK; scott.murray{at}ed.ac.uk

Abstract

Background It can be difficult to identify when a palliative care approach should be started both in malignant, and particularly, in non-malignant disease, ideally to run alongside disease-modifying care. A structured method or tool may be useful to help general practitioners (GPs) identify patients for early palliative care and trigger assessment and care planning.

Aims To document what tools for identification of patients with palliative care needs are available in the published literature and to ascertain how GPs in Europe currently identify patients for palliative care.

Methods A systematic literature search using PubMed and Embase, and a questionnaire survey among key informants in 14 European countries requesting data on methods used to identify patients with palliative care needs.

Results The literature search identified four tools. The questionnaire survey identified a further three in current use and found that in current practice identification is largely based on a GP's own clinical judgement and information received from the hospital: tools are rarely used.

Conclusions Although several identification tools have been developed, none of these have been validated or widely implemented in Europe. Further collaborative international development, implementation and evaluation of such tools are recommended.

  • Prognosis
  • Chronic conditions
  • Identification Tools
  • primary palliative care
  • primary care

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