Gathering policymakers’ perspectives as an essential step in planning and implementing palliative care services at a national level: an example from a resource-limited country

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4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Despite increasing recognition of the role played by palliative care (PC) services, the priorities of policymakers in supporting PC remain unclear and have sometimes engendered controversy. There are few studies exploring policymakers’ perspectives towards PC services, with most shedding light on obstacles to PC development. Furthermore, no study has explored policymakers’ perspectives towards providing PC at the national level in resource-limited countries. This study provides a platform for providing PC as part of the Palestinian healthcare system (HCS) by exploring policymakers’ perspectives on PC, an essential step to developing a PC programme. Methods: A descriptive qualitative study design was employed using semi-structured interviews. Participants were those identified as responsible for making executive and legislative decisions about health services (including PC) in the HCS. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis. Results: Twelve decision and policymakers participated in the study. Four categories were generated from the content analysis: (1) the nature of current PC healthcare services, (2) the potential benefits of PC, (3) challenges to providing PC, and (4) considerations in providing PC. The current PC services provided to Palestinian patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families are not comprehensive, and are limited to symptom management. There is a Palestinian national strategic plan for developing PC; however, the development goals are not clearly defined, and the plan’s capabilities are inadequate. Several challenges to the provision of PC were found to relate to issues of education and training, the allocation of funding, and the availability of medications. Conclusions: Integrating PC into the Palestinian university curricula as a compulsory course and establishing higher degree programmes in PC to overcome the shortage of PC specialists is required. Developing policies aligned with national laws could help enhance health services to patients and their families and resolve several challenges. Cooperating with national and international institutions in seeking funding could boost PC development and medication availability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number43
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • National level
  • Palestine
  • Palliative care provision
  • Policymakers
  • Qualitative study
  • Resource-limited countries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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