The following is a summary of “Development and Validation of a Tool to Assess the Structural Quality of Palliative Care Services,” published in the JUNE 2023 issue of Pain Management by Brana, et al.
The global expansion of palliative care services is necessary to bridge the gap in access to these services. However, there was limited knowledge about the structural components required to deliver adequate end-of-life care in palliative care settings. Furthermore, there needed to be more tools available to assess the structural quality of these services. For a study, researchers sought to develop and validate a tool to assess the structural quality of palliative care services.
A comprehensive literature review was conducted to identify structural quality indicators in palliative care services. National experts participated in a two-round Delphi method to establish consensus on the importance and feasibility of each proposed indicator. The consensus was achieved for each indicator if 60% or more of the experts deemed them important and feasible. The selected indicators were then tested in Chilean palliative care services to evaluate the psychometric properties of the assessment tool.
The scoping review identified a total of 31 indicators for structural quality. A group of 35 experts participated in the Delphi survey, resulting in a consensus for 21 indicators included in the developed tool known as the Structural Quality of Palliative Care Services tool (SQPCS-21). The SQPCS-21 was subsequently administered to 201 out of 250 palliative care services in Chile. The achievement rates for individual indicators ranged from 8% to 96%, with a mean of 52%. The total score on the SQPCS-21 ranged from 3 to 21 points, with a mean of 11 points.
The SQPCS-21 tool, designed to assess the structural quality of palliative care services, exhibits good content and construct validity. Its application provides valuable insights into the performance of individual institutions as well as aggregated data. The tool can serve as a valuable resource for monitoring and improving the structural quality of palliative care services on a global scale.