Background. Despite its high prevalence, similar symptoms and symptom burden, people suffering from chronic heart failure receive less palliative care than patients with malignant diseases. Internationally, numerous barriers to palliative care of patients with chronic heart failure are known, however, there are no credible data regarding barriers and facilitators to palliative care of people suffering from chronic heart failure available for Germany.
Design and Methods. Tripartite study. First part of this study evaluates health care providers’ (physicians and nurses) perceived barriers and facilitators to palliative care of patients with chronic heart failure using a qualitative approach. At least 18 persons will be interviewed. In the second part, based on the results of part one, a questionnaire about barriers and facilitators to palliative care of patients with chronic heart failure will be designed and applied to at least 150 physicians and nurses. In the last part a classic Delphi method will be used to develop specific measures to improve the palliative care for chronic heart failure patients.
Expected Impact for Public Health. The results of this study will help to understand why patients with heart failure are seldom referred to palliative care and will provide solutions to overcome these barriers. Developed solutions will be the first step to improve palliative care in patients with heart failure in Germany. In addition, the results will help health care providers in other countries to take action to improve palliative care situations for heart failure patients.
Palliative care; heart failure; health care professionals; attitudes; experiences