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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 117

of 'Benefits, services, and models of subspecialty palliative care'

Early identification of palliative care patients in general practice: development of RADboud indicators for PAlliative Care Needs (RADPAC).
Thoonsen B, Engels Y, van Rijswijk E, Verhagen S, van Weel C, Groot M, Vissers K
Br J Gen Pract. 2012 Sep;62(602):e625-31.
BACKGROUND: According to the World Health Organization (WHO) definition, palliative care should be initiated in an early phase and not be restricted to terminal care. In the literature, no validated tools predicting the optimal timing for initiating palliative care have been determined.
AIM: The aim of this study was to systematically develop a tool for GPs with which they can identify patients with congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cancer respectively, who could benefit from proactive palliative care.
DESIGN: A three-step procedure, including a literature review, focus group interviews with input from the multidisciplinary field of palliative healthcare professionals, and a modified Rand Delphi process with GPs.
METHOD: The three-step procedure was used to develop sets of indicators for the early identification of CHF, COPD, and cancer patients who could benefit from palliative care.
RESULTS: Three comprehensive sets of indicators were developed to support GPs in identifying patients with CHF, COPD, and cancer in need of palliative care. For CHF, seven indicators were found: for example, frequent hospital admissions. For COPD, six indicators were found: such as, Karnofsky score≤50%. For cancer, eight indicators were found: for example, worse prognosis of the primary tumour.
CONCLUSION: The RADboud indicators for PAlliative Care Needs (RADPAC) is the first tool developed from a combination of scientific evidence and practice experience that can help GPs in the identification of patients with CHF, COPD, or cancer, in need of palliative care. Applying the RADPAC facilitates the start of proactive palliative care and aims to improve the quality of palliative care in general practice.
Department of Anesthesiology, Pain and Palliative Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. b.thoonsen@anes.umcn.nl