De quoi et où meurent les Françaises et Français ? Quelle est l’offre sanitaire globale mais aussi plus spécifiquement de soins palliatifs aujourd’hui en France ? Quel est le profil des patients pris en charge dans les unités de soins palliatifs ? Quelle est la part des personnes âgées de 75 ans et plus dans les statistiques de mortalité ? Quelles sont leurs particularités ? Observe-t-on des différences géographiques concernant toutes ces données ?
Cette deuxième édition de l'Atlas national a vocation à répondre à ces multiples questions pour aider le lecteur à appréhender les enjeux et les réalités de l’accompagnement de la fin de vie et de la place des soins palliatifs en France aujourd’hui. Il rassemble des données démographiques, sanitaires qui sont analysées le plus finement possible pour mettre en lumière les spécificités départementales en termes d’offre sanitaire mais aussi de besoins des patients dans leurs trajectoires de fin de vie.
Lauren Oliver, formerly Clinical Nurse Advisor, NHS Nightingale North West, outlines the challenges faced by staff in providing good-quality end-of-life care for patients in a temporary hospital during the initial peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this project was to assess the value for money of a modified unit within a residential aged care facility (RACF) for people requiring palliative care at the end of life.
METHODS: A three-way comparison using a mixed-method costing was used to estimate the per day cost of the unit compared to care in a palliative care unit within a hospital and a standard RACF bed.
RESULTS: The cost of the unit was estimated at $242 per day (2015 Australian dollars). The palliative care hospital bed cost $1,664 per day. The cost of a standard RACF bed was $123 per day, indicating that an additional $120 per day is required to provide the higher level of care required by people with complex palliative care needs.
CONCLUSION: A modified RACF unit could provide substantial cost savings to the health budget for selected complex palliative care patients.
Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the clinical, economic and personal impacts of the nurse practitioner-led Sydney Adventist Hospital Community Palliative Care Service (SanCPCS)
Methods: Parallel economic analysis of usual care was conducted prospectively with patients from the enhanced SanCPCS. A convenient retrospective sample from the initial service was used to determine the impact of the enhanced service on patient care. A time series survey was used with patients and carers from within the expanded service group in order to measure patient outcomes and values as they approached death. Results: Patients of the SanCPCS were less likely to die in hospital and had fewer hospital admissions. In addition, the service halved the estimated hospitalisation cost per patient, but the length of hospital stay was not affected by the service. The SanCPCS was more beneficial for women in terms of fewer hospital admissions and lower costs. Patients’ choices regarding place of care and death and what was ‘important’ to them changed over time. For instance, patients tended to prefer being at home as they approached death, and being pain free doubled in importance.
Conclusions: Nurse practitioner-led community palliative care services have the potential to result in significant economic and personal benefits for patients and their families in need of such care. What is known about the topic? National trends show an emphasis on community services with the aim of promoting and supporting the choice of dying at home, and this coincides with drives to reduce hospital costs and length of stay. Community-based palliative care services may offer substantial economic and clinical benefits. What does this paper add? The SanCPCS was the first nurse practitioner-led community-based palliative care service in Australia. The expansion of this service led to significantly fewer admissions and deaths in hospital, and halved the estimated hospitalisation cost per patient. What are implications for practitioners? Nurse practitioner-led models for care in the out-patient or community setting are a logical direction for palliative services through the engagement of specialised providers uniquely trained to support, nurture, guide and educate patients and their carers.
Objectives: Despite a number of studies on effectiveness of palliative care, there is a lack of complex updated review of the impact of in-hospital palliative care consult service. The objective is to update information on the impact of palliative care consult service in inpatient hospital setting.
Methods: This study was a systematic literature review, following the standard protocols (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses, Joanna Briggs Institute tools) to ensure the transparent and robust review procedure. The effect of palliative care consult service was classified as being associated with improvement, no difference, deterioration or mixed results in specific outcomes. PubMed, Scopus, Academic Search Ultimate and SocINDEX were systematically searched up to February 2020. Studies were included if they focused on the impact of palliative care consult service caring for adult palliative care patients and their families in inpatient hospital setting.
Results: After removing duplicates, 959 citations were screened of which 49 full-text articles were retained. A total of 28 different outcome variables were extracted. 18 of them showed positive effects within patient, family, staff and healthcare system domains. No difference was observed in patient survival and depression. Inconclusive results represented patient social support and staff satisfaction with care.
Conclusions: Palliative care consult service has a number of positive effects for patients, families, staff and healthcare system. More research is needed on factors such as patient spiritual well-being, social support, performance, family understanding of patient diagnosis or staff stress.
CONTEXT: Improving end-of-life care (EOLC) quality among heart failure patients is imperative. Data are limited as to the hospital processes of care that facilitate this goal.
OBJECTIVES: To determine associations between hospital-level EOLC quality ratings and the EOLC delivered to heart failure patients.
METHODS: Retrospective analysis of the Veterans Health Administration (VA) and the Bereaved Family Survey data of heart failure patients from 2013-2015 who died in 107 VA hospitals. We calculated hospital-level observed-to-expected casemix-adjusted ratios of family-reported "excellent" EOLC, dividing hospitals into quintiles. Using logistic regression, we examined associations between quintiles and palliative care consultation (PCC), receipt of chaplain and bereavement services, inpatient hospice, and intensive care unit (ICU) death.
RESULTS: Of 6,256 patients, mean age was 77.4 (standard deviation=11.1), 98.3% were male, 75.7% white and 18.2% were black. Median hospital scores of "excellent" EOLC ranged from 41.3% (Interquartile range (IQR) 37.0-44.8%) in the lowest quintile to 76.4% (IQR 72.9-80.3%) in the highest. Patients who died in hospitals in the highest quintile, relative to the lowest, were slightly though not significantly more likely to receive a PCC (adjusted proportions 57.6% vs. 51.2%; p=0.32); but were more likely to receive chaplaincy (92.6% vs. 81.2%), bereavement (86.0% vs. 72.2%) and hospice (59.7% vs. 35.9%) and were less likely to die in the ICU (15.9% vs. 31.0%; p<0.05 for all).
CONCLUSION: Patients with heart failure who die in VA hospitals with higher overall EOLC quality receive more supportive EOLC. Research is needed that integrates care processes and develops scalable best-practices in EOLC across healthcare systems.
BACKGROUND: The general in-hospital mortality and interrelationship with delirium are vastly understudied. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the rates of in-hospital mortality and terminal delirium.
METHOD: In this prospective cohort study of 28,860 patients from 37 services including 718 in-hospital deaths, mortality rates and prevalence of terminal delirium were determined with simple logistic regressions and their respective odds ratios (ORs).
RESULTS: Although overall in-hospital mortality was low (2.5%), substantial variance between services became apparent: Across intensive care services the rate was 10.8% with a 5.8-fold increased risk, across medical services rates were 4.4% and 2.4-fold, whereas at the opposite end, across surgical services rates were 0.7% and 87% reduction, respectively. The highest in-hospital mortality rate occurred on the palliative care services (27.3%, OR 19.45). The general prevalence of terminal delirium was 90.7% and ranged from 83.2% to 100%. Only across intensive care services (98.1%, OR 7.48), specifically medical intensive care (98.1%, OR 7.48) and regular medical services (95.8%, OR 4.12) rates of terminal delirium were increased. In contrast, across medical services (86.4%, OR 0.32) and in particular oncology (73.9%, OR 0.25), pulmonology (72%, OR 0.31) and cardiology (63.2%, OR 0.4) rates were decreased. For the remaining services, rates of terminal delirium were the same.
SIGNIFICANCE OF RESULTS: Although in-hospital mortality was low, the interrelationship with delirium was vast: most patients were delirious at the end of life. The implications of terminal delirium merit further studies.
Objective: This study compares the characteristics and place of death of patients with cancer receiving specialist palliative care in acute hospitals with those who do not.
Methods: All patients with incident invasive cancer in Ireland (1994–2016 inclusive), excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, who attended a cancer centre and died in 2016 were identified from cancer registry data. Patients were categorised based on a diagnosis code ‘Encounter for palliative care’ from linked hospital episode data. Place of death was categorised from death certificate data. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, 2 tests and logistic regression.
Results: Of n=4103 decedents identified, 62% had a hospital-based palliative care encounter in the year preceding death. Age (p<0.001), marital status (p=0.017), deprivation index (p<0.001) and health board region (p=0.008) were independent predictors of having a palliative care encounter. Place of death differed by palliative care encounter group: 45% of those with an encounter died in hospital versus 50% without an encounter, 33% vs 16% died in a hospice and 18% vs 28% died at home (p<0.001).
Conclusion: Almost two-thirds of patients with cancer who attended a cancer centre and died in 2016 had a palliative care encounter. They were younger, less likely to be married and more likely to be from deprived areas. Having accounted for sociodemographic factors, there was evidence of regional variation in receiving care. Demographic and clinical factors and the provision of health services in a region need to be considered together when assessing end-of-life care.
Little is known about health professionals first experiences of End-of-Life care in hospital. This study aims to understand the psycho-social process that occurs when hospital-based health professionals engage in caring for a dying patient for the first time. We conducted a Grounded Theory study, with 19 health professionals. Challenging professional boundaries is the core category which explains the overall process. The theoretical model we conceptualized evidenced three phases: 1) building a relationship between patient/family and professionals, 2) the disrupting impact and 3) the reaction phase. Our analysis highlighted the initial strong impact of this experience, which brought professionals to perceive emotional suffering and feelings of inadequacy. The new aspect our grounded theory revealed is that all the categories are pertinent to all the professionals involved, therefore they explain important aspects of interprofessional collaboration in End-of-Life care.
AIM: To examine whether nurses' location of employment, demographics, or training influences their perceptions of what constitutes optimal care for dying patients in hospital.
DESIGN: Questionnaire-based, cross-sectional study.
METHODS: Between December 2016-June 2018, 582 registered or enrolled nurses from Australia (N = 153), South Korea (N = 241), and Hong Kong (N = 188) employed in a variety of hospital care units rated the extent to which they agreed with 29 indicators of optimal end-of-life care across four domains: patient, family, healthcare team, and healthcare system. Latent class analysis identified classes of respondents with similar responses.
RESULTS: Top five indicators rated by participants included: 'physical symptoms managed well'; 'private rooms and unlimited visiting hours'; 'spend as much time with the patient as families wish'; 'end-of-life care documents stored well and easily accessed' and 'families know and follow patient's wishes'. Four latent classes were generated: 'Whole system/holistic' (Class 1); 'Patient/provider-dominated' (Class 2); 'Family-dominated' (Class 3) and 'System-dominated' (Class 4). Class 1 had the highest proportion of nurses responding positively for all indicators. Location was an important correlate of perceptions, even after controlling for individual characteristics.
CONCLUSION: Nurses' perceptions of optimal end-of-life care are associated with location, but perhaps not in the direction that stereotypes would suggest. Findings highlight the importance of developing and implementing location-specific approaches to optimize end-of-life care in hospitals.
IMPACT: The findings may be useful to guide education and policy initiatives in Asian and Western countries that stress that end-of-life care is more than symptom management. Indicators can be used to collect data that help quantify differences between optimal care and the care actually being delivered, thereby determining where improvements might be made.
PURPOSE: To investigate the effectiveness of a structured death education program for older adults with chronic illness and their family caregivers.
METHODS: This study adopted two-group, non-randomized quasi-experimental design. Patient-caregiver dyads in the intervention group (N=40 dyads) engaged in the death education program at the bedside once a week for five weeks, were compared with participants (N=40 dyads) in the control group received usual health education. The program consisted of five sessions based on the Interaction Model of Client Health Behavior. Death attitude, death competence, well-being, family function and satisfaction were measured at baseline (T0), immediately after the intervention (T1) and one month later (T2). Data collection was conducted from July 30, 2019 to December 30, 2019.
RESULTS: The intention-to-treat analysis of between groups at 1-month follow-up revealed that the intervention group had greater decreases in the fear of death (p=.002, p<.001) and death avoidance (p<.001, p<.001), had greater increases in the neutral acceptance (p=.032, p<.001) and death competence (p<.001, p<.001) in patients and caregivers, respectively. There were significant intergroup differences over time for patient well-being of 6.40 (3.06, 9.74) and satisfaction of 3.30 (2.01, 4.59), with both p<.001. Results were consistent with the results from the sensitivity analysis.
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated the feasibility and benefits of death education in hospitals and provided an implementation plan for nursing professionals. Nurses should consider providing death education for older adults with chronic diseases and their families to promote the development of palliative care and the quality of end-of-life.
In March 2020, Montefiore Health System in the Bronx, New York, received an influx of adults who were critically ill with coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM), a 130-bed facility attached to an adult hospital, accommodated adult patients in the PICU, inpatient wards, and post-anesthesia care unit. CHAM pediatric faculty and housestaff were deployed to serve as primary care physicians and subspecialists for these adults (up to 84 years old), anticipating up to 100 patients.
Among many challenges faced was the commitment by the pediatric faculty and staff to find a way to continue family-centered and compassionate care in the face of social distancing rules during the pandemic. Our goal was to preserve the patient’s humanity and their relationship to family and friends who were not permitted to visit. There is an ethical imperative to provide palliative care during a crisis when lives will be lost. As a result, we chose to rapidly expand our palliative care capabilities by training frontline medical providers and enlarging our pediatric palliative care presence to serve each adult admitted with COVID-19.
BACKGROUND: A sense of place (SOP) is defined as the emotional bonds, values, meaning, and symbols attached to a place.
AIMS: To assess SOP of patients with cancer during end-of-life care at home (home-hospice service) versus at a hospital in relation to place of care, social support, and emotional distress.
METHODS: Participants were 150, stage IV, cancer patients with a life expectancy of less than 6 months, as defined by oncological staff, who were not receiving any life-prolonging care. Seventy-five patients received care at home (home-hospice), and the other 75 received care at the oncology department at the hospital, by palliative unit staff. Participants completed the Brief Symptom Inventory anxiety and depression subscales, questionnaires on perceived support and both questionnaires on home SOP and hospital SOP.
RESULTS: Mean scores of emotional distress were similar for patients in home-hospice and at the hospital. Home SOP among individuals receiving care at home was high, and hospital SOP was high among hospitalized individuals. The structural equation model had good fit indexes, showing that each of the SOP variables mediated the association between place of care and emotional distress. Perceived support was associated with lower distress only in the hospital setting.
CONCLUSIONS: The SOP concept is relevant to understanding emotional distress in relation to place of care at end of life. Strengthening SOP in relation to place of care should be considered. As newly introduced concept regarding place of care at the end of life, SOP warrants further research.
BACKGROUND: Preparation for an impending death through EOL (end-of-life) discussions and human presence when a person is dying is important for both patients and families.
OBJECTIVE: The aim was to study whether EOL discussions were offered and to what degree patients were alone at time of death when dying from Covid-19, comparing deaths in nursing homes and hospitals.
DESIGN: The national Swedish Register of Palliative Care (SRPC) was used. All expected deaths from Covid-19 in nursing homes and hospitals were compared with, and contrasted to, deaths in a reference population (deaths in 2019).
SETTING AND SUBJECTS: A total of 1346 expected Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes (n=908) and hospitals (n=438) were analyzed.
RESULTS: Those who died were of a more advanced age in nursing homes (mean 86.4 years) and of a lower age in hospitals (mean 80.7 years) (p<0.0001). Fewer EOL discussions with patients were held compared with deaths in 2019 (74% vs. 79%, p<0.001) and dying with someone present was much more uncommon (59% vs. 83%, p<0.0001). In comparisons between nursing homes and hospital deaths, more patients dying in nursing homes were women (56% vs. 37%, p<0.0001) and significantly fewer had a retained ability to express their will during the last week of life (54% vs. 89%, p<0.0001). Relatives were present at time of death in only 13% and 24% of the cases in nursing homes and hospitals, respectively (p<0.001). The corresponding figures for staff were 52% and 38% (p<0.0001).
CONCLUSION: Dying from Covid-19 negatively affects the possibility of holding an EOL discussion and the chances of dying with someone present. This has considerable social and existential consequences for both patients and families.
OBJECTIVES: Family meetings (FMs) between clinicians, patients and family are recommended as a valuable communication and care planning method in the delivery of palliative care. However, there is a dearth of knowledge regarding FM characteristics, with few studies describing the prevalence, circumstances and content of FMs. The aims of this study were to: (1) measure the prevalence of FMs, (2) examine circumstance and timing of FMs, and (3) explore the content of FMs.
METHODS: A retrospective medical record audit was conducted of 200 patients who died in an Australian hospital of an expected death from advanced disease. Details of FMs were collected using an audit tool, along with patient demographics and admission data.
RESULTS: 33 patients (16.5%) had at least one FM during their inpatient stay. The majority of FMs occurred for patients admitted to an inpatient palliative care unit (59.5%) and were most commonly facilitated by doctors (81.0%). Patient attendance was frequent (40.5%). FM content fell into six categories: medical information, supportive communication behaviours of clinicians, psychosocial support for patients and families, end-of-life discussions, discharge planning and administrative arrangements.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite the benefits FMs confer, FMs appear to be infrequently used at the end of life. When FMs are used, there is a strong medical focus on both facilitation and content. Available FM documentation tools also appear to be underused. Clinicians are encouraged to have a greater understanding of FMs to optimise their use and adopt a proactive and structured approach to the conduct and documentation of FMs.
BACKGROUND: Nursing homes are highly vulnerable to the occurrence of COVID-19 outbreaks, which result in high lethality rates. Most of them are not prepared to SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
METHODS: A coordinated on-site medicalization program (MP) in response to a sizeable COVID-19 outbreak in four nursing homes was organized, with the objectives of improving survival, offering humanistic palliative care to residents in their natural environment, and reducing hospital referrals. Ten key processes and interventions were established (provision of informatics infrastructure, medical equipment, and human resources, universal testing, separation of 'clean' and 'contaminated' areas, epidemiological surveys, and unified protocols stratifying for active or palliative care approach, among others). Main outcomes were a composite endpoint of survival or optimal palliative care (SOPC), survival, and referral to hospital.
RESULTS: 272 out of 457 (59.5%) residents and 85 out of 320 (26.5%) staff members were affected. The SOPC, survival, and referrals to hospital, occurred in 77%, 72.5%, and 29% of patients diagnosed before MP start, with respect to 97%, 83.7% and 17% of those diagnosed during the program, respectively. The SOPC was independently associated to MP (OR=15 [3-81]); and survival in patients stratified to active approach, to the use of any antiviral treatment (OR=28 [5-160]). All outbreaks were controlled in 39 [37-42] days.
CONCLUSIONS: A coordinated on-site medicalization program of nursing homes with COVID-19 outbreaks achieved a higher survival or optimal palliative care rate, and a reduction in referrals to hospital, thus ensuring rigorous but also humanistic and gentle care to residents.
Background: the literature contains limited information on the problems faced by dying patients with COVID-19 and the effectiveness of interventions to manage these.
Aim: The aim of this audit was to assess the utility of our end-of-life care plan, and specifically the effectiveness of our standardised end-of-life care treatment algorithms, in dying patients with COVID-19.
Design: The audit primarily involved data extraction from the end-of-life care plan, which includes four hourly nursing (ward nurses) assessments of specific problems: patients with problems were managed according to standardised treatment algorithms, and the intervention was deemed to be effective if the problem was not present at subsequent assessments.
Setting/participants: This audit was undertaken at a general hospital in England, covered the 8 weeks from 16 March to 11 May 2020 and included all inpatients with COVID-19 who had an end-of-life care plan (and died).
Results: Sixty-one patients met the audit criteria: the commonest problem was shortness of breath (57.5%), which was generally controlled with conservative doses of morphine (10–20 mg/24 h via a syringe pump). Cough and audible respiratory secretions were relatively uncommon. The second most common problem was agitation/delirium (55.5%), which was generally controlled with standard pharmacological interventions. The cumulative number of patients with shortness of breath, agitation and audible respiratory secretions increased over the last 72 h of life, but most patients were symptom controlled at the point of death.
Conclusion: Patients dying of COVID-19 experience similar end-of-life problems to other groups of patients. Moreover, they generally respond to standard interventions for these end-of-life problems.
Background: Increasing numbers of people dying from COVID-19 are reported, but data are lacking on the way they die.
Objective: To study symptoms and symptom relief during the last week of life, comparing nursing homes with hospitals.
Design: The Swedish Register of Palliative Care with national coverage was used. Breakthrough symptoms were registered as Yes/No. Symptom relief was recorded on a 3-grade scale as complete—partial—no relief.
All deaths in COVID-19 were contrasted to deaths in a reference population (deaths 2019). Deaths at nursing homes were compared with deaths in hospitals.
Setting and Subjects: All deaths in hospitals or nursing homes (n = 490) were analyzed. Deaths in other settings (specialized palliative care wards [n = 11], in palliative home care [n = 2], or in their own homes [n = 8]) were excluded (n = 21). Only patients with expected deaths (n = 390) were entered in the final analysis.
Results: Breathlessness as a breakthrough symptom was more common in COVID-19 patients than in the 2019 reference population (p < 0.001) and relief of breathlessness, as well as anxiety, delirium, and death rattles was less successful in COVID-19 patients (p < 0.05 to p < 0.01 in different comparisons). Patients were older in nursing homes than in hospitals (86.6 years vs. 80.9 years, p < 0.001) and more often female (48% vs. 34%, p < 0.001). Breakthrough of breathlessness was much more frequently reported in hospital settings than in nursing homes, 73% versus 35% (p < 0.0001), and complete relief was more rarely possible in hospitals, 20% versus 42% (p < 0.01). The proportion of partial relief+complete relief was comparable, 92% versus 95% (ns). Also, anxiety and pain were more often completely relieved in nursing homes (p < 0.01 in both comparisons).
Conclusion: The lower symptom prevalence in nursing homes may be explained by elderly frail residents dying already in the first phase of the COVID-19 disease, before acute respiratory distress syndrome develops.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Specialty palliative care for hospitalized patients with dementia is widely recommended and may improve outcomes, yet rates of consultation remain low. We sought to describe hospitalists' decision-making regarding palliative care consultation for patients with dementia.
DESIGN: Descriptive qualitative study.
SETTING: Seven hospitals within a national nonprofit health system.
PARTICIPANTS: Hospitalist physicians.
MEASUREMENTS: Individual semistructured interviews. We used thematic analysis to explore factors that influence hospitalists' decision to consult palliative care for patients with dementia.
RESULTS: A total of 171 hospitalists were eligible to participate, and 28 (16%) were interviewed; 17 (61%) were male, 16 (57%) were white, and 18 (64%) were in practice less than 10 years. Overall, hospitalists' decisions to consult palliative care for patients with dementia were influenced by multiple factors across four themes: patient, family caregiver, hospitalist, and organization. Consultation was typically only considered for patients with advanced disease, particularly those receiving aggressive care or with family communication needs (navigating conflicts around goals of care and improving disease and prognostic understanding). Hospitalists' limited time and, for some, a lack of confidence in palliative care skills were strong drivers of consultation. Palliative care needs notwithstanding, most hospitalists would not request consultation if they perceived families would be resistant to it or had limited availability or involvement in caregiving. Additional barriers to referral at the organization level included a hospital culture that conflated palliative and end-of-life care and busy palliative care teams at some hospitals.
CONCLUSION: Hospitalists described a complex consultation decision process for involving palliative care specialists in the care of patients with dementia. Systematic identification of hospitalized patients with dementia most likely to benefit from palliative care consultation and strategies to overcome modifiable family and organization barriers are needed.
PURPOSE: Considering the great need for palliative care in hospitals, it is essential for hospital staff to have palliative care knowledge. Palliative consultations have been shown to have positive effects on in-hospital care. However, barriers to contact with and uptake of palliative consultation advice are reported, posing a need for further knowledge about the process of palliative consultations. The purpose of this study therefore was to examine how palliative consultations in hospitals are practised, as perceived by consultants and health care professionals on receiving wards.
DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: Focus groups with palliative care consultation services, health care personnel from receiving wards and managers of consultation services. Interpretive description and constant comparative method guided the analysis.
FINDINGS: Variations were seen in several aspects of practice, including approach to practice and represented professions. The palliative consultants were perceived to contribute by creating space for palliative care, adding palliative knowledge and approach, enhancing cooperation and creating opportunity to ameliorate transition. Based on a perception of carrying valuable perspectives and knowledge, a number of consultation services utilised proactive practices that took the initiative in relation to the receiving wards.
ORIGINALITY/VALUE: A lack of policy and divergent views on how to conceptualise palliative care appeared to be associated with variations in consultation practices, tentative approaches and a bottom-up driven development. This study adds knowledge, implying theoretical transferability as to how palliative care consultations can be practised, which is useful when designing and starting new consultation services.