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Phase 0–1 early palliative home care cancer treatment intervention study
  1. Naomi Dhollander1,
  2. Tinne Smets1,
  3. Aline De Vleminck1,
  4. Simon Van Belle1,2,
  5. Luc Deliens1,3 and
  6. Koen Pardon1
  1. 1End-of-Life Care Research Group, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Ghent University, Brussels, Belgium
  2. 2Department of Medical Oncology, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium
  3. 3Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Naomi Dhollander, End-of-Life Care Research Group, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Ghent University, Brussels 9000, Belgium; naomi.dhollander{at}


Objectives Recent studies have shown that the early provision of palliative care (PC) integrated into oncology in the hospital has beneficial effects on the quality of life of people who are dying and their family caregivers. However, a model to integrate palliative home care (PHC) early in oncology care is lacking. Therefore, our aim is to develop the Early Palliative Home care Embedded in Cancer Treatment (EPHECT) intervention.

Methods We conducted a phase 0–1 study according to the Medical Research Council framework. Phase 0 consisted of a literature search on existing models for early integrated PC, and focus groups with PHC teams to investigate experiences with being introduced earlier. In phase 1, we developed a complex intervention to support the early integration of PHC in oncology care, based on the results of phase 0. The intervention components were reviewed and refined by professional caregivers and stakeholders.

Results Phase 0 resulted in components underpinning existing interventions. Based on this information, we developed an intervention in phase 1 consisting of: (1) information sessions for involved professionals, (2) general practitioner as coordinator of care, (3) regular and tailored home consultations by the PHC team, (4) a semistructured conversation guide to facilitate consultations, and (5) interprofessional and transmural collaboration.

Conclusion Taking into account the experiences of the PHC teams with being involved earlier and the components underpinning successful interventions, the EPHECT intervention for the home setting was developed. The feasibility and acceptability of the intervention will be tested in a phase II study.

  • cancer
  • home care

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  • LD and KP contributed equally.

  • Contributors Conceptualisation: ND, TS, ADV, SVB, LD, KP. Data curation: ND. Formal analysis: ND. Investigation: ND. Methodology: ND. Project administration: TS. Resources: KP. Software: ND. Supervision: TS, KP, LD. Visualisation: ND. Writing–original draft: ND. Writing–review and editing: ND, TS, ADV, SVB, LD, KP.

  • Funding This work was supported by the Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT) as part of the INTEGRATE project (SBO-IWT 140009).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The proposal for this study was submitted for approval to the Commission of Medical Ethics of the University Hospital of Ghent.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement The data of this study are kept by ND and are available upon request.

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