Patients' experiences of inter- and intra-professional communication (IIPC) in the specialist palliative care context

Nikki Jarrett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Continuity of care requires good quality inter- and intra-professional communication (IIPC). Difficulties ensuring continuity often occur when care is given over a number of physically different locations and by different teams of health and social care professionals. Patients requiring specialist palliative care often require the services of several health and social care providers. Objective: To investigate patients' perceptions and experiences of IIPC in a specialist palliative care (SPC) setting. Method: Qualitative in-depth audio-tape recorded interviews with 22 patients from 2 specialist palliative care units. Results: Patients were largely positive about their general care and experiences and when explicit IIPC occurred and was shared with patients they were very appreciative. Some patients were uncertain and unable to be specific about the extent and nature of any IIPC relating to their situation. Patients' accounts contained descriptions of relaying information between different professionals or locations of care. Some patients or family members were veiy proactive to enhance IIPC and continuity of care between different care providers. Conclusions: Examples of good IIPC practice described by participants are shared here. The involvement of patients and family/carers within IIPC and planning continuity of care is important, but the nature and extent of IIPC is not always clear to patients and family/carers. It is recommended that when IIPC occurs it needs to be transparent to patients, family/carers and other health and social care professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal on Disability and Human Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • communication
  • palliative care
  • patients' experiences


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