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'Someone to talk to' and 'pain control': What people expect from a specialist palliative care team

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This paper presents a qualitative analysis of a subsample of data from a larger investigation into general practitioner referrals to specialist palliative care services (SPCS). The aim was to identify the expectations and perceptions of patients with advanced cancer and their relatives. Twenty-nine individuals were interviewed (18 patients, 11 relatives). Qualitative analysis of the interview transcripts was undertaken using an approach based on interpretative phenomenological analysis. The results indicated that SPCS were perceived as providing psychosocial services, characterized as 'support' and 'someone to talk to'. SPCS were expected to have 'expertise in symptom control', particularly in relation to pain management. The study demonstrated that patients' and relatives' expectations of a referral to SPCS were of psychosocial support and symptom control. It is argued that the implications of this restricted view of SPCS may mean that other salient concerns are not raised by patients and relatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-144
Number of pages6
JournalPalliative Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 1999

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