Attitudes of health care professionals to opioid prescribing in end-of-life care: a qualitative focus group study
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 06/15/2012
Gardiner C et al. – Significant barriers exist to the appropriate use of opioids in end–of–life care. If international priorities on improving pain management at the end of life are to be achieved, educational opportunities for generalists need to be enhanced, and effective interprofessional working models need to be developed so that pain management for patients at the end of life is optimized.Methods
- 31 health and allied health professionals participated in four focus groups.
- Two focus groups took place in general practitioner practices and two in hospices.
- Findings revealed that significant barriers exist to the appropriate use of opioids in end–of–life care.
- Particular barriers exist for professionals working in primary care and include concerns about giving high doses and having insufficient training in opioid use.
- Working partnerships between specialist and generalist palliative care providers are important for increasing generalist confidence in prescribing.
- Patients and their families often have concerns about initiating opioids, and specialist nursing staff are crucial to managing and alleviating these concerns.