Table 2

Patient/relative recruitment
Site No. cases to participate in initial interview No. cases to participate in follow up Interview Additional Notes
1 5 (5 patients; 4 relatives) 4 (3 patients; 3 relatives) One follow up interview was conducted with 2 relatives of a patient who died soon after 1st interview. One other patient died before follow up interview was arranged.
2 3 (3 patients; 4 relatives) 2 (2 patients, 2 relatives) One patient died before follow up interview was arranged.
3 4 (4 patients; 1 relative) 0 Two patients died shortly after 1st interview.
4 5 (5 patients; 2 relatives) 0 Although all 5 patients were still living at the end of the study, delay in access to this site precluded the possibility of follow up interviews
5 1 (1 patient; 0 relatives) 0 One patient died soon after 1st interview.
Total 18 cases (18 patients; 11 relatives) 6 cases (5 patients; 5 relatives)

Follow up interviews were conducted for 6 of the 18 cases up to one year after the first interview (2 separate interviews with patients; 3 joint interviews with patients and relatives; 1 interview with 2 relatives of a patient who had died since the first interview). There was a level of attrition that impacted on the number of follow up interviews we were able to conduct. In total 6 patients recruited died before a follow up interview was planned. A further 4 patients were known to have died very soon after the completion of fieldwork.

Recruitment from sites 3, 4 and 5 was delayed, leaving no time for follow up interviews.

In total we recruited:

· 9 patients with cancer (sites 1 and 4) - 7 died during or shortly after the study.

· 4 patients with heart failure (sites 2 and 5) - 3 died during or shortly after the study.

· 2 patients with multiple sclerosis (site 4).

· 3 patients who had had strokes and co-morbidities associated with old age (site 4).

(No patients from site 4 died during or in the period shortly after the completion of fieldwork).

Almack et al.

Almack et al. BMC Palliative Care 2012 11:15   doi:10.1186/1472-684X-11-15

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