Open Access Study protocol

The PAMINO-project: evaluating a primary care-based educational program to improve the quality of life of palliative patients

Thomas Rosemann*, Katja Hermann, Antje Miksch, Peter Engeser and Joachim Szecsenyi

Author Affiliations

Department of General Practice and Health Services Research, University Hospital of Heidelberg, Vosstr. 2, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany

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BMC Palliative Care 2007, 6:5  doi:10.1186/1472-684X-6-5

Published: 29 May 2007

Abstract

Background

The care of palliative patients challenges the health care system in both quantity and quality. Especially the role of primary care givers needs to be strengthened to provide them with the knowledge and the confidence of applying an appropriate end-of-life care to palliative patients. To improve health care services for palliative patients in primary care, interested physicians in and around Heidelberg, Germany, are enabled to participate in the community-based program 'Palliative Medical Initiative North Baden (PAMINO)' to improve their knowledge in dealing with palliative patients. The impact of this program on patients' health and quality of life remains to be evaluated.

Methods/Design

The evaluation of PAMINO is a non-randomized, controlled study. Out of the group of primary care physicians who took part in the PAMINO program, a sample of 45 physicians and their palliative patients will be compared to a sample of palliative patients of 45 physicians who did not take part in the program. Every four weeks for 6 months or until death, patients, physicians, and the patients' family caregivers in both groups answer questions to therapy strategies, quality of life (QLQ-C15-PAL, POS), pain (VAS), and burden for family caregivers (BSFC). The inclusion of physicians and patients in the study starts in March 2007.

Discussion

Although participating physicians value the increase in knowledge they receive from PAMINO, the effects on patients remain unclear. If the evaluation reveals a clear benefit for patients' quality of life, a larger-scale implementation of the program is considered.

Trial registration: The study was registered at ‘current controlled trials (CCT)’, registration number: ISRCTN78021852.