Barriers to and facilitators for implementing quality improvements in palliative care – results from a qualitative interview study in Norway
The aims of the study were to explore the ability of cancer patients who are primarily receiving palliative care to use a touchscreen computer for assessment of symptoms and mobility and to investigate which factors predicted the need for assistance during the assessment. Before the main data collection, a pilot study was conducted to explore the preferences of these patients toward using such a computerized assessment tool. Patients were recruited from nine different inpatient and outpatient palliative care and general cancer clinics in Norway. The patients responded to 60 items on symptoms and mobility directly on the computer. In the pilot study (n=20), 11 patients (55.0%) preferred computerized assessment over paper and pencil, whereas five (25.0%) had no preference. In the main data collection, 370 patients (52.7% men with mean age 62 years and mean Karnofsky Performance Status score of 70) completed the assessment. Eighty-six patients (23.2%) required assistance. Patients requiring assistance were significantly older, had worse performance status, and poorer cognitive function than those not requiring assistance. Predictors for requiring assistance were age (P<0.001) and performance status (P<0.001). Because higher age and worse performance status resulted in more need of assistance, assessment tools should be short and user-friendly to ensure good compliance in frail patients.