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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 156-160

Knowledge and perception of healthcare providers towards palliative care in Rivers State, Nigeria

1 Department of Paediatrics, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
2 Department of Family Medicine, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
3 Department of Nursing, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Gracia Ker Eke
Department of Paediatrics, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/phmj.phmj_26_16

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Background: Palliative care, a multidisciplinary approach to specialised medical care, focuses on improving the quality of life for both the patient and the family. It increases their satisfaction and improves clinical outcome. Its concept, however, is relatively new in Nigeria, with services mainly limited to patients who attend the tertiary hospitals. Aim: The aim of this study is to evaluate the knowledge and perception towards palliative care among health-care providers in Rivers State. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in November 2012 at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, among participants of a workshop on Hospice and Palliative care. Participants were healthcare providers from within and outside the hospital, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, medical and nursing students. A structured, anonymous and self-administered questionnaire was used to obtain data on knowledge of palliative care and awareness information. Data were analysed using SPSS version 20.0. Results: There were 114 respondents and this comprised of 29 (25.4%) males and 85 (74.6%) females, giving a male-to-female ratio of 1:3. They were mainly doctors (44.7%) and nurses (44.7%). Majority (88%) had previously heard of palliative care. Sixty-four (56.1%) of them heard of it in a hospital setting from doctors/nurses, 37 (32.5%) from friends/family and 10 (8.8%) in school. Forty-six (40%) respondents believed that nurses should be the ones to provide palliative care services, while 32 (28%) believed the doctors should. Less than half (47.4%) were aware of the interdisciplinary facet of palliative care. Ninety-five (83.3%) respondents believed that terminally ill patients should benefit from palliative care services, while 17.5% believed that patients with diabetes should. More doctors (80%) than nurses (47%) rightly identified the components of palliative care. Conclusion: Healthcare providers had insufficient knowledge concerning the interdisciplinary nature of the palliative care team, potentials beneficiaries and components of palliative care.

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