“Building palliative care capacity in cancer treatment centres: a participatory action research”

Seema Rajesh Rao, Naveen Salins, Cynthia Ruth Goh, Sushma Bhatnagar

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction: There is a significant lack of palliative care access and service delivery in the Indian cancer institutes. In this paper, we describe the development, implementation, and evaluation of a palliative care capacity-building program in Indian cancer institutes. Methods: Participatory action research method was used to develop, implement and evaluate the outcomes of the palliative care capacity-building program. Participants were healthcare practitioners from various cancer institutes in India. Training and education in palliative care, infrastructure for palliative care provision, and opioid availability were identified as key requisites for capacity-building. Researchers developed interventions towards capacity building, which were modified and further developed after each cycle of the capacity-building program. Qualitative content analysis was used to develop an action plan to build capacity. Descriptive statistics were used to measure the outcomes of the action plan. Results: Seventy-three healthcare practitioners from 31 cancer treatment centres in India were purposively recruited between 2016 and 2020. The outcome indicators of the project were defined a priori, and were audited by an independent auditor. The three cycles of the program resulted in the development of palliative care services in 23 of the 31 institutes enrolled in the program. Stand-alone palliative care outpatient services were established in all the 23 centres, with the required infrastructure and manpower being provided by the organization. Morphine availability improved and use increased in these centres, which was an indication of improved pain management skills among the participants. The initiation and continuation of education, training, and advocacy activities in 20 centres suggested that healthcare providers continued to remain engaged with the program even after the cessation of their training cycle. Conclusion: This program illustrates how a transformational change at the organizational and individual level can lead to the development of sustained provision of palliative care services in cancer institutes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101
Pages (from-to)101
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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