Background: Palliative care is highly relevant for patients with heart failure (HF), and there is a need for quantitative information on quality of care. Accordingly, this study aimed to develop a set of quality indicators (QIs) for palliative care of HF patients, and to conduct a practical pilot measurement of the proposed QIs in clinical practice.
Methods and Results: We used a modified Delphi technique, a consensus method that involves a comprehensive literature review, face-to-face multidisciplinary panel meeting, and anonymous rating in 2 rounds. A 15-member multidisciplinary expert panel individually rated each potential indicator on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 9 (highest) for appropriateness. All indicators receiving a median score =7 without significant disagreement were included in the final set of QIs. Through the consensus-building process, 35 QIs were proposed for palliative care in HF patients. Practical measurement in HF patients (n=131) from 3 teaching hospitals revealed that all of the proposed QIs could be obtained retrospectively from medical records, and the following QIs had low performance (<10%): “Intervention by multidisciplinary team”, “Opioid therapy for patients with refractory dyspnea”, and “Screening for psychological symptoms”.
Conclusions: The first set of QIs for palliative care of HF patients was developed and could clarify quantitative information and might improve the quality of care.