Educational opportunities in palliative care: what do general practitioners want?

Shipman, C.; Addington-Hall, J.; Barclay, S.; Briggs, J.; Cox, I.; Daniels, L.; Millar, D.
May 2001
Palliative Medicine;May2001, Vol. 15 Issue 3, p191
Academic Journal
It is important to support general practitioners (GPs) in maintaining and developing their palliative care skills as most of the final year of a patient's life is spent at home under the care of the primary health care team. The training needs and uptake of GPs have been explored, but little is known about how GP educational preferences vary. The aim of this study was to explore the current educational preferences of GPs in different geographical locations as part of an evaluation of an educational intervention. The methods used included postal questionnaires sent to 1061 GPs. Results from 640 (60%) of GPs revealed that half (51%) wanted education in symptom control for non-cancer patients. More inner-city GPs wanted education in opiate prescribing (43%), controlling nausea and vomiting (45%), and using a syringe driver (38%) than their urban and rural colleagues (26%, 29% and 21%, respectively). Increased educational preference and increased difficulty in accessing information was associated with reduced confidence in symptom control. To maximize educational uptake it will be important for educational strategies to be developed and targeted according to variations in demand, and in particular to respond to the need for palliative care education in symptom control for patients suffering from advanced non-malignant disease.


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