New developments in quality indicators for palliative care.

Roo, M.L.A. de, Leemans, K., Claessen, S.J.J., Cohen, J., Pasman, H.R.W., Deliens, L., Francke, A.L. New developments in quality indicators for palliative care. Palliative Medicine: 2012, 26(4), p. 597. Abstract. 7th World Research Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC), 7-9 juni 2012, Trondheim.
Background: In 2007 an international systematic review by Pasman et al. (J Pain Symptom Manage, 2009) indicated that a number of quality indicators for palliative care were already developed, with most of them referring to outcome or process of care. Indicators concerning psychosocial and spiritual aspects of palliative care were scarce. The majority of publications lacked a description of feasibility and validity of the indicators. With the boosting attention for quality indicators for palliative care, many initiatives and further developments of quality indicators were expected. We therefore considered it necessary to update the 2007 review. Aims: To give a recent overview of published quality indicators for palliative care and observe whether new developments have been made, both in terms of the type and number of developed indicators, and of methodology. Methods: Relevant publications were identified by a computerized search up to October 2011. Same databases (PubMed/Medline, Embase, CINAHL and PsycINFO) and search strategy from the original review were used. Publications describing development process or characteristics of quality indicators for palliative care were selected by two reviewers independently. Additionally either numerators and denominators or norms had to be derivable from the descriptions of the indicators. Results: In addition to the 650 hits found by Pasman et al., we found 435 new hits. Compared to the 16 publications meeting inclusion criteria in 2007, we found 10 new publications meeting these criteria. Some new sets have been developed, while other sets have been tested further concerning validity and feasibility. The methodological characteristics of the indicators still varied considerably. Conclusion: In the last 4 years, there has been a boost in the development and publication of quality indicators for palliative care. To accurately monitor the quality of palliative care, however, more detailed methodological specifications are still needed. (aut. ref.)