Access and Attitudes Toward Palliative Care Among Movement Disorders Clinicians

Mov Disord. 2021 Aug 25. doi: 10.1002/mds.28773. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Neuropalliative care is an emerging field for those with neurodegenerative illnesses, but access to neuropalliative care remains limited.

OBJECTIVE: We sought to determine Movement Disorder Society (MDS) members’ attitudes and access to palliative care.

METHODS: A quantitative and qualitative survey instrument was developed by the MDS Palliative Care Task Force and e-mailed to all members for completion. Descriptive statistics and qualitative analysis were triangulated.

RESULTS: Of 6442 members contacted, 652 completed the survey. Completed surveys indicating country of the respondent overwhelmingly represented middle- and high-income countries. Government-funded homecare was available to 54% of respondents based on patient need, 25% limited access, and 21% during hospitalization or an acute defined event. Eighty-nine percent worked in multidisciplinary teams. The majority endorsed trigger-based referrals to palliative care (75.5%), while 24.5% indicated any time after diagnosis was appropriate. Although 66% referred patients to palliative care, 34% did not refer patients. Barriers were identified by 68% of respondents, the most significant being available workforce, financial support for palliative care, and perceived knowledge of palliative care physicians specific to movement disorders. Of 499 respondents indicating their training in palliative care or desire to learn these skills, 55% indicated a desire to gain more skills.

CONCLUSIONS: The majority of MDS member respondents endorsed a role for palliative care in movement disorders. Many members have palliative training or collaborate with palliative care physicians. Although significant barriers exist to access palliative care, the desire to gain more skills and education on palliative care is an opportunity for professional development within the MDS. © 2021 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

PMID:34431560 | DOI:10.1002/mds.28773

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