Palliative care for patients with non-malignant disease: will hospital physicians refer?

Dharmasena, H.; Forbes, K.
September 2001
Palliative Medicine;Sep2001, Vol. 15 Issue 5, p413
Academic Journal
The objective of this research was to determine whether consultant physicians would consider referring patients with non-malignant disease to a specialist palliative care service, and if so, which patients they would refer. In addition, reasons for referral, expectations of the palliative care team and concerns about the extension of palliative care to non-malignant disease were examined. A postal questionnaire was sent to all 100 consultant physicians, including sub-specialities, working in hospitals in south-east Wales, UK. Out of the 100 questionnaires, 78 physicians responded, of whom 94% would consider referring patients with non-malignant disease to a specialist palliative care service. The physicians would be prepared to refer patients with a wide range of conditions, for a variety of reasons. Among the physicians surveyed there was a general enthusiasm for specialist palliative care services to be made available to patients with non-malignant disease. The most appropriate form of service was thought to be a system of shared care and responsibility and this was seen as a means of addressing concerns regarding the lack of disease-specific expertise within the palliative care team.


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