ecancermedicalscience

Research

Situational analysis of the quality of palliative care services across India: a cross-sectional survey

8 Dec 2022
Arunangshu Ghoshal, Anjum Khan Joad, Odette Spruijt, Shobha Nair, MR Rajagopal, Firuza Patel, Anuja Damani, Jayita Deodhar, Dinesh Goswami, Geeta Joshi, Savita Butola, Charu Singh, Seema Rajesh Rao, Madhura Bhatwadekar, Mary Ann Muckaden, Sushma Bhatnagar

Objective: Palliative care services in India were established in the 1980s but there is no detailed up-to-date knowledge about the quality-of-service provision nationally. We aim to describe the current quality of palliative care provision in India, as measured against nationally adopted standards.

Method: A digital survey adapted from the Indian Association of Palliative Care Standards Audit Tool was administered to 250 palliative care centres.

Results: Two hundred and twenty-three (89%) palliative care centres participated – 26.4% were government-run, while the rest include non-governmental organisations, private hospitals, community-led initiatives and hospices. About 200 centres ‘often’ or ‘always’ fulfilled 16/21 desirable criteria; however, only 2/15 essential criteria were ‘often’ or ‘always’ fulfilled. Only 5.8% provide uninterrupted access to oral morphine.

Significance of the results: Palliative care centres in India are falling short of meeting the essential quality standards, indicating the urgent need for new initiatives to drive national change.

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