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

Abstract

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.

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