General practitioners’ perceptions of compassionate communities: a qualitative study

ABBEY, E., CRAIG, C. and MAYLAND, C. R. (2020). General practitioners’ perceptions of compassionate communities: a qualitative study. BMC Palliative Care, 19 (1), p. 97.

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Abstract: Background: General Practitioners (GPs) face challenges when providing palliative care, including an ageing, multimorbid population, and falling GP numbers. A ‘public health palliative care’ approach, defined as “working with communities to improve people’s experience of death, dying and bereavement”, is gaining momentum. ‘Compassionate communities’ is one example, with a focus on linking professional health carers with supportive community networks. Primary care is central to the approach, which has been incorporated into United Kingdom GP palliative care guidance. No research to date, however, has investigated GP perspectives of these approaches. Our aim, therefore, was to explore GP perceptions of a public health approach to palliative care, and compassionate communities. Methods: GPs working in the United Kingdom were recruited through university teaching and research networks using snowball sampling. Purposive sampling ensured wide representation of gender, level of experience and practice populations. Semi-structured, digitally audio-recorded interviews were conducted with nine GPs. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and thematic analysis was undertaken, informed by a qualitative descriptive methodology. Interviews continued until data saturation was reached. Results: Most participants were unfamiliar with the term ‘compassionate communities’, but recognised examples within their practice. Three major themes with seven subthemes were identified: 1) Perceived potential of compassionate communities, including: ‘maximising use of existing community services’; ‘influencing health outside of healthcare’; and ‘combatting taboo’, 2) Perceived challenges of compassionate communities, including: ‘patient safety’; ‘limited capacity of the community’; ‘limited capacity of general practice’, and ‘applicability of public health to palliative care’, and 3) The role of the GP in compassionate communities. Conclusions: GPs recognised the importance of the wider community in caring for palliative care patients, however most were unfamiliar with the compassionate community approach. Participants held differing views regarding the application of the model, and the position of general practice within this. Further research into the approach’s practical implementation, and exploring the views of other key stakeholders, would help establish the feasibility of compassionate communities in practice, and guide its future application.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** From Springer Nature via Jisc Publications Router ** Licence for this article: **Journal IDs: eissn 1472-684X **Article IDs: publisher-id: s12904-020-00597-y; manuscript: 597 **History: collection 12-2020; published_online 06-07-2020; online 06-07-2020; accepted 17-06-2020; registration 17-06-2020; submitted 02-02-2020
Uncontrolled Keywords: Research Article, Knowledge, education and training, Palliative care, Public health palliative care, Compassionate communities, General practice, General practitioners, Qualitative study, Public health
Identification Number:
Page Range: p. 97
SWORD Depositor: Colin Knott
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2020 10:16
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 19:45

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