Barriers and facilitators to palliative care for patients with non-curable cancer in Colombia: perspectives of allied health and social care professionals

Cindy V. Mendieta, Esther de Vries, Maria Elizabeth Gomez-Neva, Angela Maria Muñoz-Escudero, Jose Andrés Calvache, Tracey McConnell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background
Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life of people with life-limiting illness and their families by addressing physical, psychological, social and spiritual suffering. Allied Health and Social Care Professionals (AHSCP) are key to delivering comprehensive, high quality palliative care. In recent years, Colombia has developed changes in the legal, and regulatory framework for access to palliative care but barriers and facilitators to palliative care for patients with non-curable cancer have not been explored from the perspective of AHSCP.

Method
This study aims to address this knowledge gap in two cities in Colombia: one in a medium-sized city in a rural area (Popayan) and one in a highly urbanized area (Bogota). Two focus groups with AHSCP were conducted using the World Cafe method, and a subsequent thematic analysis was performed to establish the main barriers and facilitators.

Results
A wide range of 18 AHSCPs attended the two World Cafe groups in Popayan and Bogota. As a result of this iterative process, we established five thematic areas: (i) Humanizing care, (ii) Normalizing palliative care: referral at the time of diagnosis, (iii) Misunderstandings related to palliative care, (iv) Barriers within the health system, and (v) Geographic barriers.

Conclusion
This study provided the perspectives of AHSCPs in Colombia in relation to barriers and facilitators in the framework of comprehensive palliative care attention. Participants identified misconceptions about palliative care, which are explained by the lack of inclusion of this area in the educational programs of health professionals and AHSCPs, along with the limited supply and access to palliative care, especially in rural areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number149
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Volume22
Early online date06 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 06 Oct 2023

Keywords

  • palliative care, cancer, allied health and social care professionals, barriers, facilitators

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