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This work was partly funded by EAHC (Executive Agency for Health and Consumers, grant: 2006111 PPP ‘Best practices in palliative care’). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The authors have no financial disclosures.
KvB participated in the literature search, design of the study and drafted the manuscript. NA participated in the literature search, design of the study and drafted the manuscript. JH participated in the literature search, design of the study and drafted the manuscript. JMM was actively involved in the selection and developmental process of the QI. She attended the expert meeting. IC was actively involved in the selection and developmental process of the QI. She attended the expert meeting. LR and helped to draft the manuscript and had an advisory role. KV conceived of the study and participated in its design and coordination and helped to draft the manuscript. YE conceived of the study and participated in its design and coordination and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
By measuring the quality of the organisation of palliative care with process and structure quality indicators (QIs), patients, caregivers and policy makers are able to monitor to what extent recommendations are met, like those of the council of the WHO on palliative care and guidelines. This will support the implementation of public programmes, and will enable comparisons between organisations or countries.
As no European set of indicators for the organisation of palliative care existed, such a set of QIs was developed. An update of a previous systematic review was made and extended with more databases and grey literature. In two project meetings with practitioners and experts in palliative care the development process of a QI set was finalised and the QIs were categorized in a framework, covering the recommendations of the Council of Europe.
The searches resulted in 151 structure and process indicators, which were discussed in steering group meetings. Of those QIs, 110 were eligible for the final framework.
We developed the first set of QIs for the organisation of palliative care. This article is the first step in a multi step project to identify, validate and pilot QIs.