What is case management in palliative care? An expert panel study
1 Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2 Palliative Care Center of Expertise, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
3 Kennemer Gasthuis, Haarlem, the Netherlands
4 Department of Anaesthesiology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
5 Agora, National Support Center for Palliative Terminal Care, Bunnik, the Netherlands
6 Department of Anaesthesiology, Pain, and Palliative Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
7 End-of-Life Care Research Group, Ghent University and Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
BMC Health Services Research 2012, 12:163 doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-163Published: 18 June 2012
Case management is a heterogeneous concept of care that consists of assessment, planning, implementing, coordinating, monitoring, and evaluating the options and services required to meet the client's health and service needs. This paper describes the result of an expert panel procedure to gain insight into the aims and characteristics of case management in palliative care in the Netherlands.
A modified version of the RAND®/University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) appropriateness method was used to formulate and rate a list of aims and characteristics of case management in palliative care. A total of 76 health care professionals, researchers and policy makers were invited to join the expert panel, of which 61% participated in at least one round.
Nine out of ten aims of case management were met with agreement. The most important areas of disagreement with regard to characteristics of case management were hands-on nursing care by the case manager, target group of case management, performance of other tasks besides case management and accessibility of the case manager.
Although aims are agreed upon, case management in palliative care shows a high level of variability in implementation choices. Case management should aim at maintaining continuity of care to ensure that patients and those close to them experience care as personalised, coherent and consistent.