International association for hospice and palliative care (IAHPC) list of essential practices in palliative care

L. De Lima, M.I. Bennett, S.A. Murray, P. Hudson, D. Doyle, E. Bruera, C. Granda-Cameron, F. Strasser, J. Downing, R. Wenk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study was to identify, through a consensus process, the essential practices in primary palliative care. A three-phase study was designed. Phase 1 methods included development of a working group; a literature review; development of a baseline list of practices; and identification of levels of intervention. In Phase 2, physicians, nurses, and nurse aides (n = 425) from 63 countries were asked in three Delphi rounds to rate the baseline practices as essential or nonessential and select the appropriate levels of intervention for each. In Phase 3, representatives of 45 palliative care organizations were asked to select and rank the 10 most important practices resulting from Phase 2. Scores (1-10) were assigned to each, based on the selected level of importance. Results of Phase 1 were a baseline list of 140 practices. Three levels of intervention were identified: Identification/ Evaluation; Diagnosis; and Treatment/Solution measures. In Phase 2, the response rates (RR) for the Delphi rounds were 96.5, 73.6, and 71.8, respectively. A consensus point (≥80 agreement) was applied, resulting in 62 practices. In Phase 3, RR was 100. Forty-nine practices were selected and ranked. "Evaluation, Diagnosis and Treatment of Pain" scored the highest (352 points). The working group (WG) arranged the resulting practices in four categories: Physical care needs, Psychological/Emotional/Spiritual care needs, Care Planning and Coordination, and Communication. The IAHPC List of Essential Practices in Palliative care may help define appropriate primary palliative care and improve the quality of care delivered globally. Further studies are needed to evaluate their uptake and impact.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-122
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012


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