Public views on end-of-life care: Behavior change theories applied in end-of-life care contexts

last updated 04-12-2019

Data describing, explaining and predicting a desired behavior in end-of-life care

Domain: Early Palliative CarePalliative care needs
Period: 12-2012 to 12-2016


The field of behaviour (change) theories, as part of evidence-informed health promotion, has scarcely been applied in end-of-life care (EoL care) research. Using a behaviour (change) theory makes it possible to identify factors which independently contribute to the explanation of a behaviour. It is important to know how intentions, and socio-demographic, cultural, psychological, social and other individual or environmental characteristics relate to EoL care and the mutual relationships. Knowledge of these factors that influence the behaviour of patients, informal caregivers and health care professionals regarding EoL care is highly informative to public health, particularly for the development of targeted interventions aimed at desired behavioural change in EoL care. 


To respond to the above shortcomings, the innovative aim of this project is to examine the application and the utility of behaviour (change) theories in EoL care contexts. The goal of this study is to analyze behaviours in EoL care, as demonstrated by patients, informal caregivers, nurses and physicians and to gain information about the factors underlying these behaviours. We hope to provide a new developed health behaviour (change) model concerning EoL care behaviour of patients as central actors, as well as of the relevant environmental actors. Using reliable methodology, we hope to contribute to the development of future interventions aimed at the promotion of desired EoLc behaviours. This aim is divided over three studies.


(1) A systematic review will be conducted in order to appraise the potential use of health behaviour (change) theories, in which individual determinants of behaviour play an important role, within the research field around EoL care. 
(2) In addition, a qualitative study will be organized to identify relevant behaviour(s) in the context of quality EoL care and its associated factors. Given the sensitivity of the subject, individual interviews with patients will be chosen. Moreover, focus group discussions will take place with informal caregivers and health care providers (nurses and physicians). 

(3) At last, the intentions to the behaviour and the associated factors operationalized in the qualitative study will be examined within the Belgian public, guided by behaviour (change) theory. This will be done through a large-scale questionnaire survey.

Project group

Researcher: Anne-Lore Scherrens

Daily supervisor: Kim Beernaert

Promotor: Joachim Cohen 

Promotor: Benedicte Deforche

Co-promotor: Luc Deliens 




Horizontale OnderzoeksActie (VUB)