While great strides have been made in improving childhood mortality, millions of children die each year with significant health-related suffering. More than 98% of these children live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Efforts have been made to increase access to pediatric palliative care (PPC) services to address this suffering in LMICs through policy measures, educational initiatives, and access to essential medicines. However, a core component of high-quality PPC that has been relatively neglected in LMICs is grief and bereavement support for parents after the death of their child. This paper reviews the current literature on parental grief and bereavement in LMICs. This includes describing bereavement research in high-income countries (HICs), including its definition, adverse effect upon parents, and supportive interventions, followed by a review of the literature on health-related grief and bereavement in LMICs, specifically around: perinatal death, infant mortality, infectious disease, interventions used, and perceived need. More research is needed in grief and bereavement of parents in LMICs to provide them with the support they deserve within their specific cultural, social, and religious context. Additionally, these efforts in LMICs will help advance the field of parental grief and bereavement research as a whole.
Background: Volunteers play a significant role in supporting hospice and palliative care in Africa, but little is known about the types of volunteers, their motivations and roles in service delivery.
Methods: Palliative care experts from 30 African countries were invited to participate in an online survey, conducted in English and French, that consisted of 58 questions on: socio-demographics, the activities, motivation and coordination of volunteers, and an appraisal of recent developments in volunteering. The questionnaire was pre-tested in Uganda. Quantitative data was analysed descriptively with SPSS v22; answers on open-ended questions were analysed using content analysis.
Results: Twenty-five respondents from 21 countries replied to the questionnaire. The typical volunteer was reported to be a female aged between 30 and 50 years. Volunteer roles included, among others: direct patient assistance, providing psychosocial / spiritual support, and assisting patients’ families. Respondents considered altruism, civic engagement and personal gain (for a professional career) as volunteers’ most significant motivational drivers. One in two respondents noted that recruiting volunteers is easy, and cooperation with the communities was often mentioned as helpful. Trainings mostly occurred before the first assignment, with topics covering the palliative care concept, care, psychosocial support and team work. Half of respondents described recent overall volunteering developments as positive, while the other half described problems primarily with financing and motivation. Most volunteers received transportation allowances or bicycles; some received monetary compensation.
Conclusions: The findings show a wide range of volunteering in palliative care. We identified volunteers as typically 30–50 years old, non-professional females, motivated by altruism, a sense of civic engagement and personal gain. Palliative care services benefit from volunteers who take on high workloads and are close to the patients. The main challenges for volunteer programmes are funding and the long-term motivation of volunteers.
Background: Paediatric life-limiting and life-threatening conditions (life-limiting conditions) place significant strain on children, families and health systems. Given high service use among this population, it is essential that care addresses their main symptoms and concerns.
Aim: This study aimed to identify the symptoms, concerns and other outcomes that matter to children with life-limiting conditions and their families in sub-Saharan Africa.
Setting and participants: Cross-sectional qualitative study in Kenya, Namibia, South Africa and Uganda. Children/caregivers of children aged 0–17 years with life-limiting conditions were purposively sampled by age, sex and diagnosis. Children aged 7 and above self-reported; caregiver proxies reported for children below 7 and those aged 7 and above unable to self-report.
Results: A total of 120 interviews were conducted with children with life-limiting conditions (n = 61; age range: 7–17 years), and where self-report was not possible, caregivers (n = 59) of children (age range: 0–17) were included. Conditions included advanced HIV (22%), cancer (19%), heart disease (16%) endocrine, blood and immune disorders (13%), neurological conditions (12%), sickle cell anaemia (10%) and renal disease (8%). Outcomes identified included physical concerns – pain and symptom distress; psycho-social concerns – family and social relationships, ability to engage with age-appropriate activities (e.g. play, school attendance); existential concerns – worry about death, and loss of ambitions; health care quality – child- and adolescent-friendly services. Priority psycho-social concerns and health service factors varied by age.
Conclusion: This study bridges an important knowledge gap regarding symptoms, concerns and outcomes that matter to children living with life-limiting conditions and their families and informs service development and evaluation.
INTRODUCTION: Palliative care is a clinically and cost-effective component of cancer services in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Despite the significant need for palliative cancer care in SSA, coverage remains inadequate. The exploration of digital health approaches could support increases in the quality and reach of palliative cancer care services in SSA. However, there is currently a lack of any theoretical underpinning or data to understand stakeholder drivers for digital health components in this context. This project addresses this gap through engaging with key stakeholders to determine data and information needs that could be supported through digital health interventions.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This is a multicountry, cross-sectional, qualitative study conducted in Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe. In-depth interviews will be conducted in patients with advanced cancer (n=20), caregivers (n=15), health professionals (n=20) and policy-makers (n=10) in each of the three participating countries. Data from a total of 195 interviews will transcribed verbatim and translated into English before being imported into NVivo software for deductive framework analysis. The analysis will seek to understand the acceptability and define mechanisms of patient-level data capture and usage via digital technologies.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics approvals have been obtained from the Institutional Review Boards of University of Leeds (Ref: MREC 18-032), Research Council of Zimbabwe (Ref: 03507), Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe (Ref: MRCZ/A/2421), Uganda Cancer Institute (Ref: 19-2018), Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (Ref: HS325ES) and College of Medicine University of Lagos (Ref: HREC/15/04/2015). The project seeks to determine optimal mechanisms for the design and development of subsequent digital health interventions to support development, access to, and delivery of palliative cancer care in SSA. Dissemination of these findings will occur through newsletters and press releases, conference presentations, peer-reviewed journals and social media.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN15727711.
OBJECTIVE: Evidence of the role of palliative care to reduce financial hardship and to support wellbeing in low/middle-income countries (LMIC) is growing, though standardised tools to capture relevant economic data are limited. We describe the development of the Patient-and-Carer Cancer Cost Survey (PaCCCt survey) which can be used to gather data on healthcare use and out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE) in households affected by cancer in LMIC.
METHODS: To identify relevant content qualitative data were gathered using Photovoice to detail concepts of wellbeing and cost areas of importance in households receiving palliative care in Blantyre, Malawi. Existing approaches and tools used to capture OOPE were mapped through a review of the literature. The WHO tuberculosis patient cost survey was chosen for adaptation. Face and content validity of a zero-draft of the PaCCCt survey were developed through review by healthcare professionals and a national stakeholder group. The final survey was translated into local language (Chichewa) and piloted.
RESULTS: The PaCCCt survey is a tablet-based, third-party administered survey recording healthcare service utilisation and related direct and indirect costs. Coping strategies (loans and dissaving and so on), funeral costs and wellbeing at household level are included. Completion time is <30 min.
CONCLUSION: The PaCCCt survey can be used as part of economic evaluations in populations in need of palliative care in LMIC. Such evidence can support calls for the inclusion of palliative care within Universal Health Coverage which requires end-user protection from financial hardship.
Policy Points: We identified two overarching classifications of integrated geriatric and palliative care to maximize older people's quality of life at the end of life. Both are oriented to person-centered care, but with differing emphasis on either function or symptoms and concerns. Policymakers should both improve access to palliative care beyond just the last months of life and increase geriatric care provision to maintain and optimize function. This would ensure that continuity and coordination for potentially complex care needs across the continuum of late life would be maintained, where the demarcation of boundaries between healthy aging and healthy dying become increasingly blurred. Our findings highlight the urgent need for health system change to improve end-of-life care as part of universal health coverage. The use of health services should be informed by the likelihood of benefits and intended outcomes rather than on prognosis.
CONTEXT: In an era of unprecedented global aging, a key priority is to align health and social services for older populations in order to support the dual priorities of living well while adapting to a gradual decline in function. We aimed to provide a comprehensive synthesis of evidence regarding service delivery models that optimize the quality of life (QoL) for older people at the end of life across health, social, and welfare services worldwide.
METHODS: We conducted a rapid scoping review of systematic reviews. We searched MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, and CDSR databases from 2000 to 2017 for reviews reporting the effectiveness of service models aimed at optimizing QoL for older people, more than 50% of whom were older than 60 and in the last one or two years of life. We assessed the quality of these included reviews using AMSTAR and synthesized the findings narratively.
RESULTS: Of the 2,238 reviews identified, we included 72, with 20 reporting meta-analysis. Although all the World Health Organization (WHO) regions were represented, most of the reviews reported data from the Americas (52 of 72), Europe (46 of 72), and/or the Western Pacific (28 of 72). We identified two overarching classifications of service models but with different target outcomes: Integrated Geriatric Care, emphasizing physical function, and Integrated Palliative Care, focusing mainly on symptoms and concerns. Areas of synergy across the overarching classifications included person-centered care, education, and a multiprofessional workforce. The reviews assessed 117 separate outcomes. A meta-analysis demonstrated effectiveness for both classifications on QoL, including symptoms such as pain, depression, and psychological well-being. Economic analysis and its implications were poorly considered.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite their different target outcomes, those service models classified as Integrated Geriatric Care or Integrated Palliative Care were effective in improving QoL for older people nearing the end of life. Both approaches highlight the imperative for integrating services across the care continuum, with service involvement triggered by the patient's needs and likelihood of benefits. To inform the sustainability of health system change we encourage economic analyses that span health and social care and examine all sources of finance to understand contextual inequalities.
BACKGROUND: The burden of symptoms and other concerns in chronic kidney disease (CKD) is known to be high, adversely affecting the quality of life of the growing number of those with this condition in developing countries. In this paper, we describe the protocol of a longitudinal observational study among people living with CKD. The study is developed to assess the bio-psychosocial factors associated with palliative care symptoms and concerns, and pattern of health services usage among Nigerians with stages 3-5 CKD. The overall objective is to establish the evidence-base for advocacy and policy formulation, treatment guidelines, care and services, and future clinical trial studies.
METHODS: This is a multi-center study to investigate the longitudinal course of symptoms and other concerns among patients with stages 3-5 CKD in Nigeria. Interviewer administered and self-report measures at baseline (T0) and 3-month (T1) address socio-demographic characteristics, clinical-illness related information, palliative care-related symptoms and other concerns, pattern of formal or informal service usage, and bio psychosocial measures including estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), anxiety, depression, quality of life, functioning, social support and spiritual wellbeing.
DISCUSSION: This study represents the first longitudinal investigation of palliative care symptoms and concerns among people with CKD in Nigeria. It includes early stages of CKD in compliance with best practices, and a comprehensive range of bio-psychosocial outcomes to understand how these factors are associated with symptoms. This study will provide evidence for how best to integrate palliative care into management of CKD to improve care and quality of life of people with CKD. The study team welcomes collaborations with both national and international researchers.
BACKGROUND: The design and provision of quality pediatric palliative care should prioritize issues that matter to children and their families for optimal outcomes.
OBJECTIVE: This review aims to identify symptoms, concerns and outcomes that matter to children and young people ("young people") with terminal illnesses and their families. Findings from the systematic review will inform the development of a relevant framework of health outcomes.
METHOD: This is a systematic literature review across multiple databases for identification of eligible primary evidence. Data sources included PsycINFO, MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, OpenGrey, and Science Direct Journals, searched from 1 August 2016 to 30 July 2017. The study also incorporates consultations with experts in the field, citation searches via Scopus, and a hand search of reference lists of included studies.
RESULTS: Of the 13,567 articles that were evaluated, 81 studies were included. Most of these studies (n = 68) were from high-income countries and foused on young people with cancer (n = 58). A total of 3236 young people, 2103 family carers, 108 families, and 901 healthcare providers were included in the studies. Young people did not contribute to data in 30% of studies. Themes on priority concerns are presented by the following domains and health outcomes: (1) physical (n = 62 studies), e.g., physical symptoms; (2) psychological (n = 65), e.g., worry; (3) psychosocial (n = 31), e.g., relationships; (4) existential (n = 37), e.g., existential loss; and (5) “other” (n = 39), e.g., information access.
CONCLUSION: Burdensome symptoms and concerns affect young people with malignant and nonmalignant conditions and occur across the disease trajectory; pediatric palliative care should not be limited to the end-of-life phase. A child-family-centered framework of health outcomes, spanning the patient, family, and quality of service levels is proposed to inform service development. Future research should address gaps identified across the literature (i.e., the involvement of young people in research, evidence for developing countries, and a focus on nonmalignant conditions.
BACKGROUND: The need for paediatric palliative care (PPC) globally is great yet there is limited evidence of the quality or outcomes of the care provided. The lack of an outcome measure for PPC has been consistently cited as one reason for the lack of robust evidence in the field. Thus recommendations have been made for the development of locally relevant, validated tools to measure outcomes for children.
METHODS: This paper reviews relevant outcomes and quality measures in PPC, the current state of science on outcome measurement for children and young people (CYP) with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions and the development of the African Children's Palliative Outcome Scale (C-POS). Lessons learnt from the past are presented before looking ahead at the need for future developments in outcome measures in PPC. A narrative review was undertaken and authors have drawn upon reflective insights from their collective experiences.
RESULTS: Outcomes can be measured in a variety of ways, and due to the multi-dimensional nature of PPC, outcomes can be complex and hard to measure. Whilst there are a variety of outcome measures for use in adult palliative care, a similar range of tools does not exist in PPC. Literature reviews have confirmed the absence of a multi-dimensional PPC outcome measurement tool. Following on from their success in developing an outcome scale for adults in Africa, the African Palliative Care Association (APCA) have developed a multi-dimensional outcome tool for PPC-the African C-POS. Tool development and validation followed the COSMIN guidance. The draft C-POS consists of 12 questions, 8 in Section A for the child, and 4 in Section B for the parents/carers. The tool has been developed across eight African countries and is the first specifically designed, multi-dimensional outcome measure for PPC. Lessons have been learnt in the development of outcome scales in palliative care, including those specifically for PPC such as: undertaking research in PPC; the definition of PPC; if you ask a child what their concerns are they will tell you; do you use child and or proxy report? do you have different tools for different ages? what methods of scoring should be used? is it an outcome tool, an assessment tool or both? the length of the outcome measure; the length of time it takes to develop; and, it won't be perfect. Whilst progress has occurred through the development of the C-POS there is still a long way to go in the development of outcome measures for PPC. Future developments include: finalization and publication of the African C-POS; utilization of the C-POS in clinical practice, research and audit; collation and review of data sets; and the development of C-POS in different settings.
CONCLUSIONS: The measurement of outcomes in PPC is an imperative. Whilst there are challenges in developing outcome tools and utilizing them in practice, these should not prevent us from advancing the field. The development of the first outcome measure for PPC the African C-POS is a key milestone in the ongoing development and utilization of outcome measures for PPC.
PURPOSE: Despite increased access to palliative care in Africa, there remains substantial unmet need. We examined the impact of approaches to promoting the development of palliative care in two African countries, Uganda and Kenya, and considered how these and other strategies could be applied more broadly.
METHODS: This study reviews published data on development approaches to palliative care in Uganda and Kenya across five domains: education and training, access to opioids, public and professional attitudes, integration into national health systems, and research. These countries were chosen because they are African leaders in palliative care, in which successful approaches to palliative care development have been used.
RESULTS: Both countries have implemented strategies across all five domains to develop palliative care. In both countries, successes in these endeavors seem to be related to efforts to integrate palliative care into the national health system and educational curricula, the training of health care providers in opioid treatment, and the inclusion of community providers in palliative care planning and implementation. Research in palliative care is the least well-developed domain in both countries.
CONCLUSION: A multidimensional approach to development of palliative care across all domains, with concerted action at the policy, provider, and community level, can improve access to palliative care in African countries.
CONTEXT: To date, there is no study comparing palliative care (PC) development among African countries.
OBJECTIVE: To analyze comparatively PC development in African countries based on region-specific indicators.
METHODS: Data were obtained from the APCA Atlas of PC in Africa and a comparative analysis conducted. Nineteen indicators were developed and defined through qualitative interviews with African PC experts and a two-round modified Delphi consensus process with international experts on global PC indicators. Indicators were grouped by the WHO public health strategy for PC dimensions. These indicators were then sent as a survey to key informants in 52/54 African countries. Through an expert weighting process and ratings from the modified Delphi, weights were assigned to each indicator.
RESULTS: Surveys were received from 89% (48/54) of African countries. The top three countries in overall PC development were, in order, Uganda, South Africa, and Kenya. Variability existed by dimension. The top three countries in specialized services were Uganda, South Africa, and Nigeria; in policies, it was Botswana followed by parity among Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Swaziland; in medicines, it was Swaziland, South Africa, then Malawi; in education, it was equivalent between Uganda and Kenya, then Ghana and Zambia.
CONCLUSION: Uganda, South Africa, and Kenya are the highest performing countries and were the only ones with composite scores greater than 0.5 (50%). However, not one country universally supersedes all others across all four PC dimensions. The breakdown of rankings by dimension highlights where even high-performing African countries can focus their efforts to further PC development.
Introduction: Palliative care (PC) services in the African region need to adapt to manage rising numbers of patients with cancer or other life-limiting conditions. Mobile phone use in healthcare delivery (mHealth) is at an early stage of development for PC, but may provide new approaches to supporting patients regionally, particularly those with non-communicable diseases.
Methods: We conducted an online survey of 51 PC providers across 21 countries in the African region to identify: (i) current mHealth use in PC service delivery; (ii) potential barriers to mHealth use; and (iii) provider priorities for research development.
Results: mHealth approaches were reported across 71.4% of services in which respondents were based. Barriers to mHealth research include patients not having access to phones, mobile network access, and limited access to expertise and hardware required for mHealth.
Research: priorities were identified which included exploring ways of incorporating mHealth into patient care and ensuring access and relevance of mHealth for patients and health professionals.
Discussion: mHealth approaches are present across PC services in the African region, but so too are barriers to their use. Further work is required to explore how existing mHealth activities might be further developed and aligned with priority areas for PC development. Crucially, user engagement that seeks to understand the preferences and priorities of patients with PC needs, their caregivers, and those involved in the provision of PC should remain central to these efforts.
CONTEXT: Factors contributing to and impeding palliative care (PC) development in Africa can provide insights into current strategies for advancing PC.
OBJECTIVES: To identify key factors affecting PC development in African countries from in-country PC experts' perspectives.
METHODS: Sixteen PC experts from seven African countries undertook semi-structured interviews on PC development in their respective countries. An interpretive description approach was adopted, with data analyzed using constant comparison.
RESULTS: Emerged themes included: drivers, strengths, challenges, and aspirations for PC development in Africa. Drivers included advocates and pioneering organizations, HIV/AIDS, culture of caregiving, and the World Health Assembly PC Resolution. Strengths included community health workers, the special role of nurses, diversity of services, and short training courses. Challenges included lack of PC education, lack of standardization in implementation, limited availability of and/or accessibility to morphine, poverty and disease burden, and lack of funding for PC. Aspirations included integration of PC, specialization in PC, nurse prescribing, and strong partnerships with Ministries of Health. Factors already highlighted in the literature were only briefly discussed.
CONCLUSION: The key factors underpinning PC development in the seven countries contributed to the beginnings of PC in Africa, fueled by advocates that built on existing strengths to maximize opportunities. However, the current approach is high-risk in terms of its sustainability and strategies for maximizing existing resources and growing infrastructure support are needed moving forward.
Background: Indicators specific to the African context are important to measure palliative care (PC) development accurately.
Objective: To describe the process used to develop a set of PC macroindicators for Africa.
Design: Open-ended interviews on national PC development were conducted with five African Country Experts. Indicators were rated (1–4) by 14 Country Experts for validity and feasibility. An additional 11 interviews were conducted to ensure indicator saturation. Indicators scoring =3 proceeded to a modified two-round RAND/UCLA Delphi with global experts on PC development (International Committee). Finally, indicators were ranked by the project team.
Setting/Subjects: Sixteen country experts from 7 African countries and 14 International Committee members.
Results: One hundred three indicators were rated by Country Experts, and 58 proceeded to the Delphi. Thirty-eight indicators were rated as important by the International Committee, and the project team ranked 19 of these as most important. Service indicators (n = 6) included the number of types of services most important in Africa (e.g., hospices, home based) and coverage. Policy indicators (n = 4) included the existence of PC in national policies, guidelines, and budget and a responsible person. Education indicators (n = 3) consisted of inclusion of PC in medical and nursing curricula and recognition as a specialty. Medicine indicators (n = 4) focused on morphine availability, consumption, and prescribing barriers. Vitality indicators (n = 2) reflected the existence of a national association and its activity.
Conclusion: The process to develop African-specific PC indicators resulted in 19 indicators that were used to measure PC development as a comparative baseline for development in African countries.
Since the last comprehensive review on the development of national palliative care in Africa was undertaken 12 years ago, in 2005, we did a scoping review of peer-reviewed, published articles on palliative care development between 2005-16 for each African country. The scoping review was conducted by assessing the medical literature and including local expert recommendations of suggested articles. We did a basic quality assessment of the articles using the journals' impact factor, journal quartile, and the number of citations as suitable metrics for quality consideration. Articles published in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French that mentioned at least one dimension of WHO's palliative care public health strategy (implementation of services, education, policies, or medicine availability) and vitality (activity by professionals or advocates) were included. Of the 518 articles found, 49 met the inclusion criteria. Information on 26 (48%) of 54 African countries was found. Most services were concentrated in Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda, and 14 (26%) countries showed an increase in services during this timeframe. Stand-alone palliative care policies exist in Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Postgraduate diplomas in palliative care are available in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Tanzania. Restricted access to opioids, prescriber restriction laws, and a low prevalence of morphine use remain common barriers to adequate palliative care provision. Although information on palliative care is unevenly distributed, the available information showed an increased development of palliative care services in a subset of African countries. Despite this growth, however, there is still minimal to no identified palliative care development in most African countries.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care (PC) research in Africa has been proposed as a fifth dimension of the World Health Organization PC Public Health Strategy. We conducted a scoping review of published articles (2005-2016) on palliative care development (PCD) in African countries. Forty-seven articles were found across 26 countries.
OBJECTIVE: To study whether the number of published articles on PCD in countries in Africa can be used as an indicator of PCD.
DESIGN: This is a secondary analysis of a completed scoping review.MEASUREMENTS: Spearman correlations were applied to the number of published articles ("published articles") and the number of published articles with a coauthor from a high-income country (HIC) ("HIC published articles") with level of PCD using Lynch et al's updated world map (PC World Map) as a proxy. A subanalysis was undertaken for Anglophone versus non-Anglophone countries.
RESULTS: There were positive Spearman correlations (r) between the PC World Map's levels and published articles (r = 0.73; p < 0.001), and with HIC published articles (r = 0.68; p < 0.001). For Anglophone countries, the r was statistically significant (p < 0.001) at 0.69 and 0.70, versus 0.58 and 0.45 for non-Anglophone countries for published articles and HIC published articles, respectively. Kruskal-Wallis test showed a statistically significant difference between Anglophone and non-Anglophone countries for both published articles and HIC published articles (p < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: Published articles and HIC published articles on PCD in Africa had strong positive r's with the PC World Map. These measures may be considered as two indicators of PCD for countries in Africa, particularly for Anglophone countries.
La recherche en soins palliatifs est extrêmement limitée en Afrique centrale et légèrement plus développé en Afrique australe. La majeure partie de la recherche est menée en Afrique du Sud, principalement à l'université de Cape Town et au Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital à Soweto.
La recherche en soins palliatifs est actuellement très limitée dans le nord de l'Afrique. Les services de soins palliatifs qui existent mettent souvent l'accent sur la prise en charge de la douleur cancéreuse. Cela pourrait ouvrir des possibilités de collaborations de recherche internationales dans ce domaine.
Les pays d'Afrique de l'Ouest sont classés comme n'ayant pas d'activités de soins palliatifs, exceptés la Gambie, le Ghana, le Mali et le Nigéria (fourniture de soins palliatifs isolés) et la Côte d'Ivoire (fourniture généralisée). Il y a donc une pénurie de la recherche en soins palliatifs, notamment au Nigéria.