The integrated palliative care outcome scale for patients with palliative care needs: Factors related to and experiences of the use in acute care settings

Palliat Support Care. 2019 Oct;17(5):561-568. doi: 10.1017/S1478951518001104.


Objective: Implementation of patient-reported outcome measures for patients with palliative care needs is characterized by both enablers and barriers. The ways in which healthcare professionals experience the use of assessment tools is important. Our aims were to explore factors contributing to or hindering patients with palliative care needs in assessing their symptoms with the Integrated Palliative Care Outcome Scale (IPOS) and to explore healthcare professionals' experiences of the use of IPOS in acute care settings.

Method: Data were collected as a part of the evaluation of the feasibility of an implementation strategy for introducing IPOS. Data from three participating acute care units were included. We used descriptive and analytical statistics; a qualitative content analysis was also performed.

Result: A total of 309 patients were eligible to be offered assessment of symptoms with IPOS. Of these 69 (22%) had completed IPOS. A significant positive association was found between healthcare professionals' participation in training sessions and completed IPOS. The experiences of IPOS were split into two categories: "IPOS acting as a facilitator" and "barriers to the use of IPOS." The use of IPOS was described as contributing to person-centered care of patients with palliative care needs and inspiration to improved routines. Healthcare professionals' feelings of uncertainty about how to approach severely ill patients and their family members appear to have hindered their use of IPOS.

Significance of results: We found an association between healthcare professionals' participation in training sessions and patients who completed IPOS, indicating the need for a high degree of attendance at the training to achieve successful implementation. The healthcare professionals expressed feelings of insecurity concerning the use of IPOS indicating a need for further education and clinical support in its use of IPOS. Nevertheless, use of IPOS was considered to contribute to improved care of patients with palliative care needs.

Keywords: Acute care settings; Implementation; Integrated palliative care; Mixed-method; Outcome scale; Palliative care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment / classification*
  • Needs Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Palliative Care / classification
  • Palliative Care / standards*
  • Palliative Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Qualitative Research
  • Treatment Outcome*