"A palliative end-stage COPD patient does not exist": a qualitative study of barriers to and facilitators for early integration of palliative home care for end-stage COPD.
Early integration of palliative home care (PHC) might positively affect people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, PHC as a holistic approach is not well integrated in clinical practice at the end-stage COPD. General practitioners (GPs) and community nurses (CNs) are highly involved in primary and home care and could provide valuable perspectives about barriers to and facilitators for early integrated PHC in end-stage COPD. Three focus groups were organised with GPs (n = 28) and four with CNs (n = 28), transcribed verbatim and comparatively analysed. Barriers were related to the unpredictability of COPD, a lack of disease insight and resistance towards care of the patient, lack of cooperation and experience with PHC for professional caregivers, lack of education about early integrated PHC, insufficient continuity of care from hospital to home, and lack of communication about PHC between professional caregivers and with end-stage COPD patients. Facilitators were the use of trigger moments for early integrating PHC, such as after a hospital admission or when an end-stage COPD patient becomes oxygen-dependent or housebound, positive attitudes towards PHC in informal caregivers, more focus on early integration of PHC in professional caregivers' education, implementing advance care planning in healthcare and PHC systems, and enhancing communication about care and PHC. The results provide insights for clinical practice and the development of key components for successful practice in a phase 0-2 Early Integration of PHC for end-stage COPD (EPIC) trial, such as improving care integration, patients' disease insight and training PHC nurses in care for end-stage COPD.