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Palliative care competencies for geriatricians across Europe: a Delphi consensus study

Pautex S, Roller-Wirnsberger R, Singler K, Van den Noortgate N; SIG palliative care, SIG education of the European Geriatric Medicine Society (EuGMS). Palliative care competencies for geriatricians across Europe: a Delphi consensus study. Eur Geriatr Med. 2021 Feb 1. doi: 10.1007/s41999-020-00445-5. 


Integration of palliative care competencies with geriatric medicine is important for quality of care for older people, especially in the last years of their life. Therefore, knowledge and skills about palliative care for older people should be mandatory for geriatricians. The European Geriatric Medicine Society (EuGMS) has launched a postgraduate curriculum for geriatric medicine recently.

Based on this work, the Special Interest Group (SIG) on Palliative care in collaboration with the SIG in Education and Training aimed to develop a set of specific palliative care competencies to be recommended for training at a postgraduate level.

Competencies were defined using a modified Delphi technique based upon a Likert like rating scale. A template to kick off the first round and including 46 items was developed based on pre-existing competencies developed in Switzerland and Belgium.

Three Delphi rounds were necessary to achieve full consensus. Experts came from 12 EU countries. In the first round, the wording of 13 competencies and the content of 10 competencies were modified. We deleted or merged ten competencies, mainly because they were not specific enough. At the end of the 2nd round, one competence was deleted and for three questions the wordings were modified. These modifications had the agreement of the participants during the last round.

A list of 35 palliative care competencies for geriatricians is now available for implementation in European countries.