Developing and testing the effectiveness of a specialist palliative care service for frail older people in primary care
Frail older people are affected by multiple, complex and prolonged health problems due to progressive decline in health and functioning. And yet many do not receive appropriate care in the last years of life. There is a surprising lack of evidence-based interventions in this population. According to the World Health Organisation, palliative care should be initiated early in the course of disease of frail older people to control their physical, psychosocial and spiritual problems. Specifically, short-term specialist palliative care interventions may improve care for these patients by providing support to regular healthcare providers in primary care, where the majority of frail older people are cared for.
We aim to develop a short-term specialist palliative care intervention for frail older people in primary care in Flanders, test its feasibility and preliminary effectiveness and explore the processes through which it leads to changes in patient and family outcomes.
We will develop the intervention by creating a theoretical model based on existing literature and multiple workshops with stakeholders (care providers, recipients, policy-makers, researchers). We will then test its feasibility, preliminary effectiveness and processes of change in a pilot fast-track randomized controlled trial with outcome and process evaluation.
This will result in the first evidence-based palliative care model for frail older people in primary care.