Pilot Study to Develop and Test Palliative Care Quality Indicators for Nursing Homes

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An increasingly frail population in nursing homes accentuates the need for high quality care at the end of life and better access to palliative care in this context. Implementation of palliative care and its outcomes can be monitored by using quality indicators. Therefore, we developed a quality indicator set for palliative care in nursing homes and a tailored measurement procedure while using a mixed-methods design. We developed the instrument in three phases: (1) literature search, (2) interviews with experts, and (3) indicator and measurement selection by expert consensus (RAND/UCLA). Second, we pilot tested and evaluated the instrument in nine nursing homes in Flanders, Belgium. After identifying 26 indicators in the literature and expert interviews, 19 of them were selected through expert consensus. Setting-specific themes were advance care planning, autonomy, and communication with family. The quantitative and qualitative analyses showed that the indicators were measurable, had good preliminary face validity and discriminative power, and were considered to be useful in terms of quality monitoring according to the caregivers. The quality indicators can be used in a large implementation study and process evaluation in order to achieve continuous monitoring of the access to palliative care for all of the residents in nursing homes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number829
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2021


  • end of life care
  • nursing homes
  • palliative care
  • quality indicators
  • quality measurement
  • quality of care


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