Aim: this evaluation set out to examine the needs of staff as they adopted an end-of-life integrated Care Pathway (ICP), and its impact on both service users and providers.
Method: semi-structured interviews were conducted with palliative care specialists, other health care professionals and bereaved carers.
Results: the challenges encountered revolved around the multitude of settings, and professionals involved; around the diagnosing of dying; communication with patients and the provision of emotional or spiritual support. Ongoing challenges at the end of the evaluation were those of addressing spirituality and some of the established practices. However, there was general consensus that the ICP facilitated greater consistency of care, improved continuity, and ensured a proactive rather than a reactive approach to care. All these were recognised and appreciated by bereaved carers.
Conclusion: end of life is now every health care professional's business and this may have the potential to raise the place of palliative care in general on the professional agenda.