The care that most people receive at the end of their lives is provided not by specialist palliative care professionals but by generalists such as GPs, district nurses and others who have not undertaken specialist training in palliative care. A key focus of recent UK policy is improving partnership working across the spectrum of palliative care provision. However there is little evidence to suggest factors which support collaborative working between specialist and generalist palliative care providers
To explore factors that support partnership working between specialist and generalist palliative care providers.
A systematic review of studies relating to partnership working between specialist and generalist palliative care providers was undertaken. Six electronic databases were searched for papers published up until January 2011.
Of the 159 articles initially identified, 22 papers met the criteria for inclusion. Factors supporting good partnership working included: good communication between providers; clear definition of roles and responsibilities; opportunities for shared learning and education; appropriate and timely access to specialist palliative care services; and coordinated care.
Multiple examples exist of good partnership working between specialist and generalist providers; however, there is little consistency regarding how models of collaborative working are developed, and which models are most effective. Little is known about the direct impact of collaborative working on patient outcomes. Further research is required to gain the direct perspectives of health professionals and patients regarding collaborative working in palliative care, and to develop appropriate and cost-effective models for partnership working.
Keywords: collaborative working, generalist palliative care, partnership working, specialist palliative care