Background: The Bavarian State Ministry of Health and Care fosters the establishment of regional hospice and palliative care networks in Bavaria, Germany. Little is known about well-tried structures and beneficial strategies of collaboration within such networks.
Objectives: The present study aims to investigate general conditions under which hospice and palliative care networks in Bavaria perform successfully and to explore modes of working, forms of organisation, and channels of communication.
Methods: Data were collected between March and June 2015 in semi-structured interviews with ten coordinators and chairpersons of ten Bavarian hospice and palliative care networks. Results of this status quo analysis concerning aspects of network models and beneficial factors of networking were discussed in a subsequent workshop. The workshop took place in November 2015 with eight representatives of five networks. Individual interviews and the discussion of the diagnostic workshop were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed with the aid of the computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software MAXQDA (Software für qualitative Datenanalyse (1989-2015). VERBI Software Consult Sozialforschung GmbH, Berlin, Germany). Hypotheses were formulated adapted from Grounded Theory.
Results: Networking factors and characteristics are quite congruent. Beneficial and diverse factors identified by network coordinators and moderators represent three major topics: network organisation and coordination, communication and information channels, and public visibility.
Conclusions: Well-tried and established practices of networking are present in the hospice and palliative care networks included in the study. The experiences and visions of the networks will foster the compilation of a best practice recommendation for the establishment of new and the enhancement of existing networks.
Keywords: Bavaria; Grounded Theory; Health services research; Networks; Palliative care.