Doctors' perceptions of palliative care for heart failure: focus group study

Hanratty, B., Hibbert, D., Mair, F. , May, C., Ward, C., Capewell, S., Litva, A. and Corcoran, G. (2002) Doctors' perceptions of palliative care for heart failure: focus group study. British Medical Journal, 325(7364), pp. 581-585. (doi:10.1136/bmj.325.7364.581)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7364.581

Abstract

Objectives: To identify doctors' perceptions of the need for palliative care for heart failure and barriers to change.

Design: Qualitative study with focus groups.

Setting: North west England.

Participants: General practitioners and consultants in cardiology, geriatrics, palliative care, and general medicine.

Results: Doctors supported the development of palliative care for patients with heart failure with the general practitioner as a central figure. They were reluctant to endorse expansion of specialist palliative care services. Barriers to developing approaches to palliative care in heart failure related to three main areas: the organisation of health care, the unpredictable course of heart failure, and the doctors' understanding of roles. The health system was thought to work against provision of holistic care, exacerbated by issues of professional rivalry and control. The priorities identified for the future were developing the role of the nurse, better community support for primary care, and enhanced communication between all the health professionals involved in the care of patients with heart failure.

Conclusions: Greater consideration should be given to the care of patients dying with heart failure, clarifying the roles of doctors and nurses in different specialties, and reshaping the services provided for them. Many of the organisational and professional issues are not peculiar to patients dying with heart failure, and addressing such concerns as the lack of coordination and continuity in medical care would benefit all patients.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Capewell, Dr Simon and Mair, Professor Frances
Authors: Hanratty, B., Hibbert, D., Mair, F., May, C., Ward, C., Capewell, S., Litva, A., and Corcoran, G.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment
Journal Name:British Medical Journal
ISSN:0959-535X

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