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Impact of bedside ultrasound on care in specialist palliative care units: a qualitative study
  1. Steven Moore1,
  2. Bethany Stoneham2,
  3. Vanessa Taylor3 and
  4. Paul Perkins4,5
  1. 1North Bristol NHS Trust, Westbury on Trym, UK
  2. 2Royal United Hospital, Bath, UK
  3. 3University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK
  4. 4Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, Cheltenham, UK
  5. 5Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cheltenham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Paul Perkins, Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK; paul.perkins{at}


Objectives To explore the experiences of palliative care doctors regarding the clinical impact of ultrasound in specialist palliative care units (SPCUs).

Methods The study adopted a qualitative research design using semistructured interviews and a reflexivity journal. Six participants were recruited through purposive and snowball sampling. Findings were analysed using framework analysis.

Results Analysis used four predetermined themes: (1) practicalities, (2) clinical indications, (3) impact on patient care and service provision and (4) governance and training. Analysis identified a relationship between procedural confidence and use of ultrasound.

Conclusions Our study provides information for understanding the current use and limitations of ultrasound in SPCUs. Ultrasound leads to safer practice, especially when performing invasive procedures such as paracentesis. Development of standards around the use of, and training of staff undertaking ultrasound in specialist palliative care, are recommended.

  • Ascites
  • Symptoms and symptom management
  • Hospice care
  • Genitourinary

Data availability statement

Data are available upon request.

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon request.

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  • Contributors PP conceived the study. PP and SM finalised the protocol. SM conducted the interviews, CE-B transcribed them. SM, BS and PP analysed the data. VT gave methodological advice. All authors critically revised drafts of the paper. They also read and approved the final version of the manuscript. PP is the guarantor.

  • Funding Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Research and Innovation Forum Fund paid for interview transcription.

  • Competing interests All authors have completed the Unified Competing Interests form at (available on request from the corresponding author).

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

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.