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Video consultations in community palliative care – patient satisfaction: mixed methods study

Abstract

Objectives Community palliative care (CPC) has traditionally been delivered face to face in the home or in the outpatient clinic setting. The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the introduction of video consultation (VC) as a modality of CPC service provision. Evidence supports the feasibility of VC in CPC. There is a paucity of evidence regarding patient satisfaction with key components of the palliative care consultation when delivered virtually.

Methods Mixed quantitative and qualitative study. The formulated telephone questionnaire evaluated satisfaction with VC in three domains: comfort with use of technology, communication using video technology and components of the palliative care consultation. Results were analysed descriptively with thematic analysis of free text additional information.

Results The majority (93%) of patients were satisfied with VC. All patients felt able to communicate what they wanted to say. The majority felt comfortable asking questions (90%) and a minority (16%) were dissatisfied that they could not be physically examined. Patients were satisfied with discussing physical symptoms (90%) and medications (90%). Areas which were not discussed or had less favourable feedback included exploration of spirituality and faith. Themes identified included: flexibility and convenience offered by VC, relationship and rapport building in the context of VC and technological challenges posed by VC.

Conclusions Patients were satisfied with VC as a mechanism of CPC provision. Satisfaction, although generally high, varied across key components of the consultation demonstrating the strengths and limitations of this modality at present. This provides clinicians with valuable information to guide future research and service development.

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request - study survey template.

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