Healthcare professionals' perspectives of deprescribing in older patients at the end of life in hospice care: a qualitative study using the Theoretical Domains Framework

Int J Pharm Pract. 2023 May 7;31(3):305-313. doi: 10.1093/ijpp/riad005.


Objectives: This study aimed to investigate healthcare professionals' barriers to and enablers of deprescribing in older hospice patients at the end of life and prioritise relevant theoretical domains for behaviour change to be incorporated into future interventions to facilitate deprescribing.

Methods: Twenty doctors, nurses and pharmacists from four hospices in Northern Ireland participated in qualitative semistructured interviews using Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF)-based topic guides. Data were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed inductively using thematic analysis. Deprescribing determinants were mapped to the TDF enabling the prioritisation of domains for behaviour change.

Key findings: Four prioritised TDF domains represented key barriers to deprescribing implementation; lack of formal documentation of deprescribing outcomes (Behavioural regulation), challenges in communication with patients and families (Skills), lack of implementation of deprescribing tools in practice (Environmental context/resources) and patient and caregiver perceptions of medication (Social influences). Access to information was identified as a key enabler (Environmental context/resources). Perceived risks versus benefits of deprescribing were identified as a key barrier or enabler (Beliefs about consequences).

Conclusions: This study highlights that further guidance on deprescribing in the context of end-of-life is required to address the growing problems of inappropriate prescribing, Guidance should consider factors such as the adoption of deprescribing tools, monitoring and documentation of deprescribing outcomes and how best to discuss prognostic uncertainty.

Keywords: Deprescribing; behaviour change; end-of-life; hospice care; older people.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Death
  • Deprescriptions*
  • Health Personnel
  • Hospice Care*
  • Humans
  • Qualitative Research

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