Open Access Research article

PaTz groups for primary palliative care: reinventing cooperation between general practitioners and district nurses in palliative care: an evaluation study combining data from focus groups and a questionnaire

Annicka GM van der Plas1*, Martijn Hagens1, H Roeline W Pasman1, Bart Schweitzer1, Marij Duijsters2 and Bregje D Onwuteaka-Philipsen1

  • * Corresponding author: Annicka GM van der Plas

Author Affiliations

1 VU University medical centre, Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO + Institute for Health and Care Research, Centre of Expertise in Palliative Care, P.O. Box 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 1ste Lijn Amsterdam (ROS), P.O. Box 206, 1000 AE Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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BMC Family Practice 2014, 15:14  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-15-14

Published: 20 January 2014



PaTz (an acronym for ‘PAlliatieve Thuis Zorg’; palliative care at home) is an intervention to improve palliative care provision and strengthen the generalist knowledge of palliative care. In PaTz general practitioners and district nurses meet on a regular basis to identify patients with palliative care needs and to discuss care for these patients. This study explores experiences with regard to collaboration between general practitioners and district nurses, and perceived benefits of and barriers for implementation of PaTz.


This study is conducted within the primary care setting. Participants were 24 general practitioners who filled in a questionnaire, and seven general practitioners, five district nurses and two palliative care consultants who attended one of two focus groups.


PaTz led to improved collaboration. Participants felt informational and emotional support from other PaTz participants. Also they felt that continuity of care was enhanced by PaTz. Practical recommendations for implementation were: meetings every 6 to 8 weeks, regular attendance from both general practitioners and district nurses, presence of a palliative care consultant, and a strong chairman.


PaTz is successful in enhancing collaboration in primary palliative care and easy to implement. Participants felt it improved continuity of care and knowledge on palliative care. Further research is needed to investigate whether patient and carer outcomes improve.

Palliative care; End of life care; Primary health care; Interprofessional relations; General practitioner; Primary care nursing