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01.12.2014 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

BMC Palliative Care 1/2014

Assessment of knowledge, attitude and practice and associated factors towards palliative care among nurses working in selected hospitals, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

BMC Palliative Care > Ausgabe 1/2014
Hiwot Kassa, Rajalakshmi Murugan, Fissiha Zewdu, Mignote Hailu, Desalegn Woldeyohannes
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1472-684X-13-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

HK: initiation of the study, design, implementation, analysis and write-up as well as prepared the manuscript for publication. RM: initiation of the study, design, analysis and writing. FZ: Design and write-up. MH: design and implementation. DW: design, analysis and write-up as well as prepared the manuscript for publication. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



To provide quality care at the end of life or for chronically sick patients, nurses must have good knowledge, attitude and practice about palliative care (PC). In Ethiopia PC is new and very little is known about the type of services offered and the readiness of nurses to provide PC.


A cross sectional quantitative study design was carried out using 341 nurses working in selected hospitals in Addis Ababa from January 2012 to May 2012. Systematic random sampling was the method employed to select two governmental and two non-governmental hospitals. The researchers used triangulation in their study method making use of: Frommelt’s Attitude Toward Care of the Dying (FATCOD) Scale, Palliative Care Quiz for Nursing (PCQN) and practice questions. This led to enhanced validity of the data. EPI-INFO and SPSS software statistical packages were applied for data entry and analysis.


Of the total 365 nurses selected, a response rate of 341 (94.2%) were registered. Out of the total study participants, 104 (30.5%) had good knowledge and 259 (76%) had favorable attitude towards PC. Medical and surgical wards as well as training on PC were positively associated with knowledge of nurses. Institution, individuals’ level of education, working in medical ward and the training they took part on PC were also significantly associated with the attitude the nurses had. Nurses working in Hayat Hospital (nongovernmental) had a 71.5% chance of having unfavorable attitude towards PC than those working in Black Lion Hospital (governmental). Regarding their knowledge aspect of practice, the majority of the respondents 260 (76.2%) had poor implementation, and nearly half of the respondents had reported that the diagnosis of patients was usually performed at the terminal stage. In line with this, spiritual and medical conditions were highly taken into consideration while dealing with terminally ill patients.


The nurses had poor knowledge and knowledge aspect of practice, but their attitude towards PC was favorable. Recommendations are that due attention should be given towards PC by the national health policy and needs to be incorporated in the national curriculum of nurse education.
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