Primary palliative Care in General Practice - study protocol of a three-stage mixed-methods organizational health services research study

BMC Palliat Care. 2018 Jan 30;17(1):21. doi: 10.1186/s12904-018-0276-6.


Background: The focus of this project is on improving the provision of primary palliative care (PC) by general practitioners (GPs). While approximately 10-15% of the incurable, seriously ill or dying people will be in need of specialist PC, the vast majority can be adequately treated within generalist care. The strengthening of the GP's role in PC, as well as ensuring close collaboration between specialist PC services and GPs have been identified as top priorities for the improvement of PC in Germany. Despite healthcare policy actions, diverse obstacles still exist to successful implementation of primary PC on a structural, process, and economic level. Therefore, this project aims at addressing barriers and facilitators to primary PC delivery in general practice in Germany.

Methods: The study follows a three-step approach; first, it aims at systematically analyzing barriers and facilitators to primary PC provision by GPs. Second, based on these outcomes, a tailored intervention package will be developed to enhance the provision of primary PC by GPs. Third, the intervention package will be implemented and evaluated in practice. The expected outcome will be an evidence-based model for successful implementation of primary PC delivery tailored to the German healthcare system, followed by a strategic action plan on how to improve current practice both on a local level and nationally.

Discussion: The first step of the project has been partly completed at the time of writing. The chosen methodologies of four sub-projects within this first step have opened up different advantages and disadvantages for the data collection. In sum of all sub-projects, the different methodologies and target groups contributed valuable information to the systematic analysis of barriers and facilitators to primary PC provision by GPs.

Trial registration: The study (BMBF-FK 01 GY 1610) was retrospectively registered at the German Clinical Trials Register (Deutsches Register Klinischer Studien) (Registration N° DRKS00011821 ; date of registration: December 04th 2017) and at the German Register of health care research (Versorgungsforschung Deutschland - Datenbank) (Registration N° VfD_ALLPRAX_16_003817 ; date of registration: March 30th 2017).

Keywords: Complex intervention; General practice; Organizational health services research; Primary palliative care.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / methods
  • Delivery of Health Care / trends
  • General Practitioners / psychology
  • General Practitioners / standards
  • Germany
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Models, Organizational
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Palliative Care / organization & administration
  • Palliative Care / standards
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration
  • Qualitative Research
  • Research Design / trends*
  • Workforce