Providing palliative care in rural Nepal: Perceptions of mid-level health workers

RN Gongal, SK Upadhyay, KP Baral, M Watson, WG Kernohan

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9 Citations (Scopus)
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Introduction: Nepal is beginning to develop palliative care services across the country. Most people live in rural areas, where the Mid-Level Health Workers (MHWs) are the major service providers. Their views on providing palliative care are most important in determining how the service is organized and developed. Aim: This study aims to ascertain the perceptions of MHWs about palliative care in their local community, to inform service development. Methods: A qualitative descriptive design, using focus group discussions, was used to collect data from a rural district of Makwanpur, 1 of the 75 districts of Nepal. Twenty-eight MHWs participated in four focus group discussions. The data were analyzed using content analysis. Result: Four themes emerged from the discussion: (i) suffering of patients and families inflicted by life-threatening illness, (ii) helplessness and frustration felt when caring for such patients, (iii) sociocultural issues at the end of life, and (iv) improving care for patients with palliative care needs. Conclusion: MHWs practicing in rural areas reported the suffering of patients inflicted with life-limiting illness and their family due to poverty, poor access, lack of resources, social discrimination, and lack of knowledge and skills of the health workers. While there are clear frustrations with the limited resources, there is a willingness to learn among the health workers and provide care in the community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-155
JournalIndian Journal of Palliatve Care
Issue number2
Early online date13 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished online - 13 Apr 2018


  • Mid-level health worker
  • palliative care
  • rural


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