What are the views of hospital-based generalist palliative care professionals on what facilitates or hinders collaboration with in-patient specialist palliative care teams? A systematically constructed narrative synthesis

Palliat Med. 2016 Mar;30(3):240-56. doi: 10.1177/0269216315615483. Epub 2015 Nov 4.


Background: Hospital-based specialist palliative care services are common, yet existing evidence of inpatient generalist providers' perceptions of collaborating with hospital-based specialist palliative care teams has never been systematically assessed.

Aim: To assess the existing evidence of inpatient generalist palliative care providers' perceptions of what facilitates or hinders collaboration with hospital-based specialist palliative care teams.

Design: Narrative literature synthesis with systematically constructed search.

Data sources: PsycINFO, PubMed, Web of Science, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature and ProQuest Social Services databases were searched up to December 2014. Individual journal, citation and reference searching were also conducted. Papers with the views of generalist inpatient professional caregivers who utilised hospital-based specialist palliative care team services were included in the narrative synthesis. Hawker's criteria were used to assess the quality of the included studies.

Results: Studies included (n = 23) represented a variety of inpatient generalist palliative care professionals' experiences of collaborating with specialist palliative care. Effective collaboration is experienced by many generalist professionals. Five themes were identified as improving or decreasing effective collaboration: model of care (integrated vs linear), professional onus, expertise and trust, skill building versus deskilling and specialist palliative care operations. Collaboration is fostered when specialist palliative care teams practice proactive communication, role negotiation and shared problem-solving and recognise generalists' expertise.

Conclusion: Fuller integration of specialist palliative care services, timely sharing of information and mutual respect increase generalists' perceptions of effective collaboration. Further research is needed regarding the experiences of non-physician and non-nursing professionals as their views were either not included or not explicitly reported.

Keywords: Palliative care; attitude of health personnel; communication; integrated; interprofessional relations; referral and consultation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Communication
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Palliative Care / organization & administration*
  • Palliative Care / standards
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Professional Competence
  • Quality of Health Care / standards
  • Trust