Intrathecal Drug Delivery: Training Needs of Hospice Medical and Nursing Staff

Rachel O'Kane, Chris Black, Carole Parsons

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Background: Intrathecal drug delivery (ITDD) is a safe and effective drug delivery method for patients receiving palliative care in whom other forms of analgesia have been ineffective. However, this technique has not been used in one hospice in a region of the United Kingdom in recent years.

Aims: To assess the knowledge, confidence and competence of hospice medical and nursing staff in ITDD and determine their training needs, with a view to reintroducing ITDD.

Methods: Two questionnaires were devised; one for medical staff and one for nursing staff, to assess knowledge, confidence and competence in ITDD. Questions also elicited participants’ learning preferences for training. Questionnaires were piloted and distributed to all medical and nursing staff in February and March 2018, as part of a quality improvement project.

Results: Twenty-two healthcare professionals completed the questionnaire (10 doctors and 12 nurses; response rates of 63% of doctors and 46% of nurses respectively). Analysis of responses suggested that while doctors demonstrated a greater knowledge of ITDD, neither healthcare profession rated themselves as very confident or competent in this technique. Most participants expressed a preference for demonstrations in ITDD as a way to meet their learning needs.

Conclusion/Discussion: Due to staff turnover and the introduction of a new pump system, medical and nursing staff do not have up-to-date knowledge or confidence in ITDD. Education and training are therefore required prior to reintroduction of ITDD as a drug delivery method in the hospice, which must include practice-based learning and teaching incorporating demonstrations of this under-utilised drug delivery technique. These findings have informed the development of training materials for hospice medical and nursing staff; delivery and evaluation is currently ongoing.

Funding: The authors received no specific grant from any funding agency to undertake this work.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2019
Event16th World Congress of the European Association of Palliative Care - Estrel Convention Centre, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 23 May 201925 May 2019


Conference16th World Congress of the European Association of Palliative Care


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