Background: Providing end of life care (EoLC) is an important aspect of primary care, which reduces the risk of hospital admission for most patients. However, general practitioners (GPs) seem to have low confidence in their ability to provide EoLC. Little is known about an adequate volume and kind of training in EoLC among GP trainees.
Methods: We performed a before-after comparison in all post-graduate GP trainees who were registered in the vocational training program (KWBW VerbundweiterbildungPLUS). They were offered participation within a two-day seminar focussing on palliative care in 2017. Those who attended the seminar (intervention group I) completed a paper-based questionnaire directly before the intervention (T1) and 6 months after (T2). None-attendees (group C) were also asked to fill out the questionnaire once. The questionnaire covered previous experiences in palliative care, self-assessment of competencies in EoLC in the organisation of patient care as well as in control of symptoms, attitudes towards death and caring for dying patients and questions about GPs’ role in EoLC.
Results: In total, 294 GP trainees (I: n = 219; C: n = 75) participated in the study. Of those, more than 90% had previously gained experience in EoLC mainly during vocational training in the hospital rotation. Around a third had previously gained competencies in EoLC in medical school. Between groups I (T1) and C no significant differences were observed in socio-demographic characteristics, pre-existing experience or overall expertise. At T2, 75% of participants of group I declared they have extended their competencies in EoLC after the intervention and 70% classified the intervention as helpful or very helpful. Overall, they rated their competencies significantly higher than at T1 (p < 0.01). In detail, competencies in organisation of EoLC and competencies in handling of symptoms significantly improved (p < 0.01). Due to the intervention, 66% could reflect their attitudes towards dying, death and grief and 18% changed their attitudes. Group I highlighted palliative care as one of GPs tasks (Likert 4.47/5, SD 0.75).
Conclusions: The intervention fostered personal competencies, understanding and self-confidence in EoLC among GP trainees. This is crucial for the aim to broadly provide EoLC.
Purpose: We studied the prevalence of medications of questionable benefit in the last 6 months of life among older nursing home residents with and without dementia in Germany.
Methods: a retrospective cohort study was conducted on claims data from 67,328 deceased nursing home residents aged 65+ years who were admitted between 2010 and 2014. We analyzed prescription regimens of medications of questionable benefit in the 180–91-day period and the 90-day period prior to death for residents with dementia (n = 29,052) and without dementia (n = 38,276). Factors associated with new prescriptions of medications of questionable benefit prior to death were analyzed using logistic regression models among all nursing home residents and stratified by dementia.
Results: A higher proportion of nursing home residents with dementia were prescribed at least one medication of questionable benefit in the 180–91-day (29.6%) and 90-day (26.8%) periods prior to death, compared with residents without dementia (180–91 days, 22.8%; 90 days, 20.1%). Lipid-lowering agents were the most commonly prescribed medications. New prescriptions of medications of questionable benefit were more common among residents with dementia (9.8% vs. 8.7%). When excluding anti-dementia medication, new prescriptions of these medications were more common among residents without dementia (6.4% vs. 8.0%). The presence of dementia (odds ratio [OR] 1.40, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.32–1.48) and excessive polypharmacy were associated with new prescriptions of medications of questionable benefit prior to death (OR 4.74, 95%CI 4.15–5.42).
Conclusion: even when accounting for anti-dementia prescriptions, the prevalence of nursing home residents with dementia receiving medications of questionable benefit is considerable and may require further attention.
On 26 February 2020, the German Constitutional Court rejected a law from 2015 that prohibited any form of ‘business-like’ assisted suicide as unconstitutional. The landmark ruling of the highest federal court emphasised the high priority given to the rights of autonomy and free personal development, both of which constitute the principle of human dignity, the first principle of the German constitution. The ruling echoes particularities of post-war Germany’s end-of-life debate focusing on patient self-determination while rejecting any discussion of active assistance to die through a lethal injection administered by a doctor. This brief report discusses the ruling in the light of the broader sociopolitical and historical context of the German end-of-life debate.
Background: In order to counteract fatigue, physical activity (PA) is recommended for all stages of cancer. However, only few advanced cancer patients (ACP) are physically active. Quantitative data with high numbers of ACP reporting barriers to PA are missing. This study aimed to identify barriers to PA in ACP with tiredness/weakness and investigate their motivation towards it.
Methods: Outpatients with metastatic cancer receiving cancer care at a German Cancer Center reporting moderate/severe tiredness/weakness during self-assessment (MIDOS II) were enrolled. We assessed Fatigue-(FACF-F) and Depression (PHQ8) Scores, demographics, cancer-specific parameters, motivation for PA, physical, psychological and social barriers.
Results: 141 of 440 eligible patients (32.0%) with different diagnoses agreed to participate. Patients frequently reported “I feel weakened due to my tumor therapy” (n = 108; 76.6%), physical symptoms (tiredness, weakness, dyspnea, joint-problems, pain, nausea [n = 107; 75.9%]) and fatigue (n = 99; 70.2%) as barriers to PA. However, no significant group differences regarding these barriers were found between physically active and inactive patients. Social barriers were rarely chosen. Motivated patients were 5.6 times more likely to be physically active (p < 0.001), also motivation turned out to be the strongest predictor for a physically active behavior (ß = 1.044; p = 0.005). Motivated attitude towards PA was predicted by fatigue (ß = - 2.301; p = 0.008), clinically relevant depression (ß = - 1.390, p = 0.039), knowledge about PA and quality of life (QoL) (ß = 0.929; p = 0.002), PA before diagnosis (ß = 0.688; p = 0.005 and Interest in exercise program (ß = 0.635; p = 0.008).
Conclusion: “I feel weakened due to my tumor therapy” is the most reported barrier to PA among both, physically and inactive patients. Motivation for PA is the strongest predictor of performing PA. Interest in PA, knowledge about PA/QoL and PA before diagnosis are main predictors of a motivated attitude. Absence/presence of social barriers did not associate with motivation, fatigue and depression proved to be a negative predictor. Programs including information, motivational counseling and individualized training should be offered for ACP to overcome barriers and reduce fatigue.
Trial registration: German Register of Clinical Trials DRKS00012514, registration date: 30.5.2017.
Objectives: Patients in oncological and palliative care (PC) often have complex needs, which require a comprehensive treatment approach. The assessment of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) has been shown to improve identification of patient needs and foster adjustment of treatment. This study explores occupational routines, attitudes and expectations of physicians and nurses with regards to a planned electronic assessment system of PROs.
Methods: ten physicians and nine nurses from various PC settings in Southern Germany were interviewed. The interviews were analysed with qualitative content analysis.
Results: The interviewees were sceptical about the quality of data generated through a patient self-assessment system. They criticised the rigidity of the electronic assessment questionnaire, which the interviewees noted may not fit the profile of all palliative patients. They feared the loss of personal contact between medical staff and patients and favoured in-person conversation and on-site observations on site over the potential system. Interviewees saw potential in being able to discover unseen needs from some patients. Interviewees evaluated the system positively in the case that the system served to broadly orient care plans without affecting or reducing the patient-caregiver relationship.
Conclusions: A significant portion of the results touch upon the symbolic acceptance of the suggested system, which stands for an increasing standardisation and technisation of medicine where interpersonal contact and the professional expertise are marginalized. The study results can provide insight for processes and communication in the run-up to and during the implementation of electronic assessment systems.
Whenever parents lose their child, it is an enormously emotionally stressful situation for the family, regardless of whether the child is a stillborn or dies later in life. The earlier this painful loss occurs, the more precious becomes every opportunity for the family to spend with their child, providing care as well as saying goodbye.
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Background. Modern intensive care methods led to an increased survival of critically ill patients over the last decades. But an unreflected application of modern intensive care measures might lead to prolonged treatment for incurable diseases, and an inadaequate or too aggressive therapy can prolong the dying process of patients. In this study, we analysed end-of-life decisions regarding withholding and withdrawal of intensive care measures in a German intensive care unit (ICU) of a communal tertiary hospital.
Methods. Patient datasets of all adult patients dying in an ICU or an intermediate care unit (IMC) in a tertiary communal hospital (Klinikum Hanau, Germany) between 01.01.2011 and 31.12.2012 were analysed for withholding and withdrawal of intensive care measures.
Results. During the two-year period, 1317 adult patients died in Klinikum Hanau. Of these, 489 (37%) died either in an ICU/IMC unit. The majority of those deceased patients (n = 427, 87%) was 60 years or older. In 306 (62%) of 489 patients, at least one life-sustaining measure was withheld or withdrawn. In 297 (61%) of 489 patients dying in ICU/IMC, any type of therapy was withheld, and in 139 patients (28%), any type of therapy was withdrawn. Mostly, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (n = 222), invasive (n = 121) and noninvasive (n = 40) ventilation followed by renal replacement therapy (n = 71) and catecholamine therapy (n = 66) were withheld. More invasive measures as ventilation or renal replacement therapy were withdrawn in 18 and 22 patients only. After withholding/withdrawal of therapy, most patients died within two days. More than 20% of patients dying in ICU/IMC did not have an analgesic medication.
Conclusions. About one-third of patients dying in the hospital died in ICU/IMC. At least one life-sustaining therapy was limited/withdrawn in more than 60% of those patients. Withholding of a therapy was more common than active therapy withdrawal. Ventilation and renal replacement therapy were withdrawn in less than 5% of patients, respectively.
OBJECTIVES: We investigated trends in end-of-life hospitalizations among nursing home residents (NHR) over 10 years and looked at differences between age groups and sexes as well as the length of terminal hospital stays.
STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study based on health insurance claims data of the AOK Bremen/Bremerhaven. All NHR aged 65 years or more who died between 2006 and 2015 were included.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We assessed the proportions of decedents who were in hospital on the day of death and during the last 3, 7, 14 and 30 days of life, stratified by two-year periods. Multiple logistic regressions were conducted to study changes over time, adjusting for covariates.
RESULTS: A total of 10,781 decedents were included (mean age 86.1 years, 72.1 % females). Overall, 29.2 % died in hospital, with a slight decrease from 30.3 % in 2006-2007 to 28.3 % in 2014-2015 (OR 0.86; 95 % CI 0.75-0.98). Of the 3150 terminal hospitalizations, 35.5 % lasted up to 3 days and the mean length of stay decreased from 9.0 (2006-2007) to 7.5 days (2014-2015). When looking at the last 7, 14 and 30 days of life, no changes over time were found. Male sex and younger age were associated with a higher chance of end-of-life hospitalization in almost all analyses.
CONCLUSIONS: End-of-life hospitalizations of NHR are common in Germany. There has been a small decrease during recent years in the proportion of in-hospital deaths, but not of hospitalizations during the last 7, 14 and 30 days of life. This might be explained by shorter durations of hospital stays.
This article discusses a recent ruling by the German Federal Court concerning medical professional liability due to potentially unlawful clinically assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) at the end of life. This case raises important ethical and legal questions regarding a third person's right to judge the value of another person's life and the concept of 'wrongful life'. In our brief report, we discuss the concepts of the 'value of life' and wrongful life, which were evoked by the court, and how these concepts apply to the present case. We examine whether and to what extent value-of-life judgements can be avoided in medical decision-making. The wrongful-life concept is crucial to the understanding of this case. It deals with the question whether life, even when suffering is involved, could ever be worse than death. The effects of this ruling on medical and legal practice in Germany are to be seen. It seems likely that it will discourage claims for compensation following life-sustaining treatment (LST). However, it is unclear to what extent physicians' decisions will be affected, especially those concerning withdrawal of CANH. We conclude that there is a risk that LST may come to be seen as the 'safe' option for the physician, and hence, as always appropriate.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Critically ill patients require a careful approach for prognosis and decision-making. The German health legislation aims to strengthen the role of advance directives (ADs) and health-care proxies (HCPs). Their impact within a dedicated neurocritical care setting is unknown. This study aimed to assess the practice of withdrawal or withholding of life-sustaining therapy (WOLST) in a German neurointensive care unit (NICU) focusing on whether AD or HCP is associated with timing and treatment intensity.
METHODS: Data on patients who died after WOLST at a dedicated NICU of a German university hospital, from 2010 to 2013, were retrospectively analyzed.
RESULTS: Of 400 deceased patients, 310 (77.5%) died after initiation of WOLST. Among them, 68 (21.9%) were identified to have AD or HCP or both (AD + HCP). WOLST patients with AD, HCP, or AD + HCP were older than those without (median age: 77 vs 72 years, P < .001) but did not show any other distinct baseline features. There was no difference in the specific neurocritical care measures between the groups. Poisson regression analysis showed no significant difference in the probability of time-dependent WOLST initiation between those with and without AD/HCP, after adjusting for age and sex (adjusted incidence rate ratio, 1.10; 95% confidence interval, 0.94-1.28; P = .244).
CONCLUSIONS: In this single-center study of mainly cerebrovascular NICU patients, AD or HCP was neither associated with an earlier WOLST nor associated with a difference in treatment intensity before WOLST. Further prospective studies should assess the emerging concept of advance care planning in neurocritical care.
A huge proportion of people with Parkinson’s disease (PwP) in Germany have written an advance directive (AD). However, the content of these forms in regard to specific Parkinson’s disease (PD)-related complications is rather low. There is an urgent need to specify ADs of PwP and consequently to improve decision-making concerning end-of-life aspects for affected patients. Evidence- and consensus-based PD-specific recommendations for ADs might help to close this gap. A Delphi study with two online Delphi rounds was initiated. Initial recommendations were built on findings from previous studies and derived from evidence-based literature. Consensus on recommendations was defined as =80% concordance regarding clarity of formulated aspects and relevance for clinical practice. A total of 22 experts (15.2% response rate) predominantly from the workgroup ‘neuro-palliative care’ in Germany performed two Delphi rounds. Consensus was achieved for 14 of 24 initially presented recommendations. Recommendations relating to dopaminergic therapy as well as to non-oral therapy options were considered important by the expert panel. The recommendations should be taken into account when developing and giving advice on ADs for PwP. Health professionals should be trained in counselling ADs of PwP and in integrating these recommendations in ADs during the disease course of PD.
BACKGROUND: Nursing homes are becoming more important for end-of-life care. Within the industrialised world, Germany is among the countries with the most end-of-life hospitalizations in nursing home residents. To improve end-of-life care, investigation in the status quo is required. The objective was to gain a better understanding of the perspectives of nursing home staff on the current situation of end-of-life care in Germany.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted as a postal survey among a random sample of 1069 German nursing homes in 2019. The survey was primarily addressed to nursing staff management. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Staff was asked to rate different items regarding common practices and potential deficits of end-of-life care on a 5-point-Likert-scale. Estimations of the proportions of in-hospital deaths, residents with advance directives (AD), cases in which documented ADs were ignored, and most important measures for improvement of end-of-life care were requested.
RESULTS: 486 (45.5%) questionnaires were returned, mostly by nursing staff managers (64.7%) and nursing home directors (29.9%). 64.4% of the respondents rated end-of-life care rather good, the remainder rated it as rather bad. The prevalence of in-hospital death was estimated by the respondents at 31.5% (SD: 19.9). Approximately a third suggested that residents receive hospital treatments too frequently. Respondents estimated that 45.9% (SD: 21.6) of the residents held ADs and that 28.4% (SD: 26.8) of available ADs are not being considered. Increased staffing, better qualification, closer involvement of general practitioners and better availability of palliative care concepts were the most important measures for improvement.
CONCLUSIONS: Together with higher staffing, better availability and integration of palliative care concepts may well improve end-of-life care. Prerequisite for stronger ties between nursing home and palliative care is high-quality education of those involved in end-of-life care.
AIM: To describe general practitioners' (GPs) perspectives on end-of-life care of nursing home residents.
METHODS: We carried out a cross-sectional study. A questionnaire was sent to a random sample of 1121 GPs in the German federal states of Bremen and Lower Saxony in 2018. Data were compared between GPs with a qualification in palliative medicine and those without such qualifications, and multivariable logistic regression was performed.
RESULTS: Overall, 375 questionnaires were returned (response rate 34%). The majority of GPs (71%) agreed that nursing home residents are treated too often in hospitals at the end of life, and more than half rated end-of-life care in nursing homes as "rather poor" (54%). For both questions, GPs with a qualification in palliative medicine showed higher agreements. In the multivariable analysis, a prior qualification in palliative medicine was also strongly associated with rating end-of-life care as "rather poor" (OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.10-3.23). Respondents cited higher staffing ratios and better trained nursing staff as the most important measures to improve end-of-life care. Furthermore, it was estimated that just 37% of residents have an advance directive, with only one-third including valid information on end-of-life hospitalizations.
CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that GPs tend to be critical regarding end-of-life care in nursing homes. To improve end-of-life care, better training in palliative care for nursing staff and GPs might be warranted. In addition, advance care planning can help to ensure that residents' wishes are respected.
Background: Guidelines on pediatric palliative care recommend to provide care for children and adolescents with life-limiting conditions at home. Since 2007, in Germany, palliative home care can be provided by specialized outpatient palliative care teams. However, teams with specific expertise for children are not available all over the country. Families without this support need to use the hospital to get specialists' assistance.
Objective: To explore how parents of children and adolescents with life-limiting conditions think about the hospital as place of care.
Design: We conducted narrative interviews with parents and analyzed these by using a grounded theory approach.
Setting/Subjects: we interviewed 13 parents (4 fathers and 9 mothers) of 9 children with life-limiting conditions receiving or having received pediatric specialized outpatient palliative care (SOPPC) in Germany.
Results: Parents reported feelings of vulnerability, heteronomy, and disablement associated with hospital care and were afraid that their children's needs were not adequately addressed. These perceptions resulted from hospitals' standardized care structures and over- and undertreatment, a lack of continuity of care, hospital pathogens, a lack of a palliative mindset, insensitive hospital staff, the exclusion of parents from the treatment and parental care of their children, the hospital stay as a permanent state of emergency, and a waste of limited life time.
Conclusion: Pediatric hospital staff needs training in identifying and responding to palliative care needs. SOPPC structures should be expanded all over Germany to meet the needs of families of children with life-limiting conditions.
BACKGROUND: The interest in outcome measurement in pediatric palliative care is rising. To date, the majority of studies investigating relevant outcomes of pediatric palliative care focus on children with cancer. Insight is lacking, however, about relevant outcome domains for children with severe neurological impairment and their families.
AIM: The aim of this study was to identify meaningful outcome domains of pediatric palliative care for children with severe neurological impairment and their families.
DESIGN: A qualitative research design following a constructivist research paradigm was employed. Guided interviews were conducted with parents of children with life-limiting conditions and severe neurological impairment and professional caregivers. The data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.
SETTING: Overall, 10 cooperating pediatric palliative care institutions across Germany (outpatient and inpatient settings) aided in the recruitment of eligible parents and professional caregivers. A total of 11 interviews with 14 parents and 17 interviews with 20 professional caregivers were conducted.
RESULTS: Six core outcome domains of pediatric palliative care for children with severe neurological impairment and their families were identified, namely (1) symptom control, (2) respite and support, (3) normalcy, (4) security, (5) empowerment, and (6) coping with the disease, each consisting of 1 to 13 individual aspects.
CONCLUSION: As for other diagnostic groups, symptom control is a relevant outcome domain for children with severe neurological impairment. However, other outcome domains which focus on the whole family and take into account the long disease trajectory, such as respite and support, security, empowerment, and coping with the disease, are also crucial.
Purpose: Close relationships can be strained by losses related to independence, autonomy, and separation after diagnosis of severe illness. The perceived quality of their close relationships affects individuals’ psychological adaptation in this context. We explored the level of perceived relatedness and its impact on demoralization and death acceptance. We further examined a possible protective effect of perceived relatedness on the association between tumor stage and death acceptance.
Methods: For this observational study, we consecutively recruited gynecology outpatients and general surgery inpatients at the University Cancer Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and oncological inpatients at the LungenClinic Grosshansdorf, Germany. At baseline, 307 patients (age M = 59.6, 69% female, 69% advanced cancer) participated. At 6- and 12-month (T3) follow-up, 213 and 153 patients responded, respectively. Patients completed self-report questionnaires including a modified version of the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory assessing perceived relatedness, the Life Attitude Profile-Revised assessing death acceptance, the Demoralization Scale, and the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale assessing symptom burden. We calculated multiple linear regression analyses controlling for demographic and disease-related factors.
Results: Participants reported a stronger perceived relatedness at baseline (M = 3.04, SE = 0.03, possible range 0–4) than at T3 (M = 2.93, SE = 0.04; p = 0.02). Perceived relatedness significantly predicted lower demoralization at T3 but did not moderate the relationship between tumor stage and demoralization. Apart from male gender, none of the predictor or moderator variables had a significant impact on death acceptance at T3.
Conclusions: The strong impact of perceived relatedness on existential distress emphasizes the importance of strengthening interpersonal relationships within psychosocial interventions.
Some end-of-life aspects have become a significant political and social issue such as elderly care and euthanasia. But hardly anything is known about how the general public in Germany thinks about death and dying more generally. Therefore, we conducted a representative online survey (N = 997) regarding 21 end-of-life aspects. Differences between subgroups were analyzed by conducting analyses of variance and Tukey honestly significance difference post hoc tests and by performing t tests. The findings revealed that the general public is open to engaging with topics of death, dying, and grief and that death education might even be promoted for children. Most participants appraised dealing with the finitude of life as part of a good life, but few have contemplated death and dying themselves so far. Attitudes and perceptions were related to age, subjective health, religious denomination, and gender. The survey provides useful implications for community palliative care, death education, and communication with dying people.
Cet ouvrage regroupe les contributions produites lors d'un congrès international à Florence en Italie. La première partie, dédiée à une approche historique générale de la fin de vie et de l'euthanasie, introduit le sujet avant de se focaliser sur les aspects philosophiques et éthiques. La deuxième partie décrit, pays par pays, le statut des législations en vigueur, les projets de réforme et les particularités de chaque système législatif. La troisième partie dépeint des études de cas pour illustrer l'application des législations relatives à la fin de vie. Des cas récents, comme Lambert en France, Conway en Angleterre et Fabiano Antoniani en Italie sont détaillés. La quatrième partie traite de la responsabilité pénale de l'équipe médicale et les questions générales de droit pénal relatives à la fin de vie dans les pays étudiés. Enfin, la dernière partie met en évidence les outils législatifs liés à la protection législative des adultes en France et en Allemagne.
Objective: The main purpose of palliative care is symptom relief. Frequently, the symptoms of patients requiring palliative care are the same as common symptoms of vitamin deficiency (e.g. pain, weakness, fatigue, depression). The study aim was to investigate whether patients in palliative care are vitamin deficient.
Method: This was a monocentre cross-sectional study. Patients attending the palliative care unit of a general hospital in Germany from October 2015 to April 2016 were examined for vitamin blood concentrations and symptoms. Data were analysed using univariate analysis and bivariate correlations.
Results: Data were available from 31 patients. Vitamin D3 deficiency (<62.5 nmol/L) affected 93.5% of patients, vitamin B6 deficiency (<4.1 ng/mL) 48.4%, vitamin C deficiency (<4.5 mg/L) 45.2%, vitamin B1 deficiency (<35 µg/L) 25.8% and vitamin B12 deficiency (<193 pg/mL) 12.9%. There was a significant negative correlation between vitamin B1 ranges and pain (r = -0.384) and depression (r = -0.439) symptoms.
Conclusion: All patients showed a deficiency in at least one of the measured vitamins; 68% had concurrent deficiencies in >1 vitamin. A follow-up study using validated questionnaires and a larger sample is needed to investigate the effects of targeted vitamin supplementation on quality of life and symptom burden.
BACKGROUND: From 2014 to 2017, the Palliative Medicine Working Group developed and published best practice recommendations for the integration of palliative care in Comprehensive Cancer Centers (CCCs) in Germany. To evaluate the implementation level of these recommendations in the CCCs an online survey was performed. Based on the results of this study, strategic tandem partnerships between CCCs should be built in order to foster further local development.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Directors of all CCCs were contacted by e-mail between December 2017 and February 2018. At the time of the survey, 15 CCCs were funded by the German Cancer Aid. The level of implementation of the recommendations in individual CCCs was established using a transtheoretical model.
RESULTS: Between December 2017 and February 2018, all 15 contacted directors or their representatives of the CCCs took part in the survey. More than two thirds of the CCCs have a palliative service as well as a day clinic and palliative outpatient clinic. Regional networking and the provision of a palliative care unit were approved by all CCCs.
CONCLUSION: The publication of best practice recommendations was a milestone for the integration of palliative care in the CCCs. The majority of the German CCCs already fulfill essential organizational and structural requirements. There is a particular need for optimization in the provision of a basic qualification for general palliative care and emergency admission personnel.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: In 2017, the Palliative Medicine Working Group in the network of the German Comprehensive Cancer Centers (CCCs) published the best practice recommendations it had developed for the integration of palliative medicine in CCCs in Germany. In order to evaluate the level of implementation of the recommendations, an online survey of the CCC directors was established. The majority of German CCCs fulfil elementary organizational and structural requirements. However, there is still room for improvement in the provision of a basic qualification for general palliative care and emergency admission personnel.