Public Health and Palliative Care: What do the Public Know and What Lessons can be Learnt? Abstract 49 Conference Keynote Address

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Abstract

Background: Palliative care is becoming a public health issue, with global calls for earlier integration in wider health care systems. One way to enable this is to ascertain what the public know and understand about palliative care. International evidence would suggest that palliative care is poorly understood.

Aim: To examine public awareness, knowledge, and perceptions of palliative care and to draw on this evidence to examine wider theoretical, methodological, and awareness-raising issues.

Methods: A 2-phase, explanatory, sequential mixed-methods design including a cross-sectional survey and qualitative interviews with members of the public. The survey examined sociodemographic characteristics, public awareness, knowledge, and perceptions of palliative care using the PacKs 13-item tool, analysed by factor analysis and nonparametric statistics. Qualitative interviews explored strategies to raise awareness and were analysed thematically.

Results: A total of 1201 participants completed the survey (58.3% female, mean age 61 years) and 25 took part in focus groups/interviews. A fifth of participants (20.1%) had previously heard about palliative care and were accurate in their understanding of palliative care. Demographic factors such as being female, higher educated, married, and older, were associated with higher levels of awareness. The most common help misconception was that palliative care was exclusively for people in the last 6 months of life.

Discussion: There is a need for public education programmes to provide targeted, accurate, and consistent messages using a full range of media. It is important this is located within a wider socio ecological framework that moves beyond the individual and considers societal engagement across a range of stakeholders at organisational, community, and public policy perspectives. Further work is needed to enhance the evidence base when developing and testing interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Journal Palliative Care and Social Practice
Volume15
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2021
EventPublic Health Research in Palliative Care: Towards Solutions for Global Challenges: International Research Seminar of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) Research Network and EAPC Reference Group on Public Health and Palliative Care - Online (AIIHPC)
Duration: 17 Nov 202018 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Public Health
  • Palliative care

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