Barriers Among Primary Care Providers to Utilizing Palliative/Hospice Care for Patients with Non-Cancerous Terminal Illness
AuthorEllis, Susan Eileen
AdvisorSheppard, Kate G.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractPatients with terminal illness may benefit greatly from hospice and palliative care. Studies of patients with chronic terminal illness revealed that those who did not received palliative or hospice care experienced poor quality medical care characterized by untreated symptoms, unmet spiritual and personal care needs, increased burden for the caregiver, and low patient and family satisfaction (Meier, 2011). According to the World Health Organization (2011), palliative care is offered at the time of diagnosis alongside potentially curative treatment and can be utilized during the trajectory of illness until death. Hospice is a Medicare benefit considered the model for quality, compassionate care during the last 6 months of life and is available to all patients regardless of age, religion, race, or illness (Medicare Hospice, 2011). This study examined why patients with non-cancerous terminal illness were not receiving timely palliative or hospice care by interviewing primary care providers. A systemic literature review suggested possible barriers including confusion between palliative and hospice care, lack of understanding about the scope and intent of hospice care (McAteer & Wellberry, 2013), prognostic uncertainty, timing, and no clear point to originate a referral (LeMond & Allen, 2011). Insufficient training for primary care providers, including the lack of familiarity with various prognostic tools that aid in determining eligibility for the patient with a non-cancerous, terminal diagnosis might also be a barrier to referral (McAteer & Wellberry, 2013). Lastly, primary care providers lacked confidence in communicating the need for advanced care planning in non-cancerous terminal illnesses according to a survey done by Karlekar, Collier, Paish, Olson, & Elsay (2014). The findings of this study confirmed the available literature. Much work is needed to educate providers and incorporate palliative care and hospice guidelines in academic institutions and in practice. Regulatory issues need continuous attention as the landscape of coverage, payment, and reimbursement changes rapidly. Further research is needed so that this vulnerable population will benefit from early interventions and a better understanding and acceptance of their non-cancerous terminal illness.
Degree ProgramGraduate College