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Title: An assessment of the integration of palliative care in the caring of cancer patients in selected oncology clinics in the eThekwini district in KwaZulu-Natal
Authors: Sithole, Ntombizodwa Margaret 
Issue Date: 18-Jan-2013
Palliative care research in South Africa is at an early stage and there is an increasing
need to develop a body of evidence that is relevant to South African conditions. One
of the biggest challenges that palliative care in Africa faces is the projected increase
in the number of cancer patients in the developing world by 2050, many of whom will
need palliative care. There is a concern at present about the integration of oncology
and palliative care services in South Africa and whether or not cancer patients are
able to access quality palliative care. Palliative care plays an important role in
improving quality of life for people and family members affected by life-threatening
illness. It pursues its goal by relieving pain and other distressing symptoms in cancer
patients and giving psychosocial support to patients and their families. It should
begin at diagnosis and continue throughout treatment, follow-up care, and at the end
of life in addition to the cancer treatment which is given
Aim of the study
The aim of this study was to assess the integration of palliative care in the caring of
cancer patients in the selected oncology clinics in the eThekwini district in KZN.
A qualitative, explorative, descriptive and contextual research design was used to
guide this study. The study was participative in nature and employed a focus group
methodology. The participants in this study were professional nurses who were
working at the selected sites in the public urban oncology clinics for more than three
months. Two focus groups were conducted within one month of each other at
selected oncology sites with participation from 16 oncology nurses.
Findings indicated that most participants understood palliative care as end of life
care when a patient is beyond curative treatment and that it is often the doctor who
determines eligibility. Participants also perceived palliative care in terms of different
types of medical treatment. The findings indicated nurses only contacted hospices
when the patient was at the last stage of their illness, were often not aware of all the
hospices in the area, and acknowledged that communication between the oncology
clinics and hospices was not good. Some nurses believed that palliative care is also
provided in the oncology clinic and that it is not only the hospices that provide
palliative care. Only one oncology nurse who participated in the study mentioned that
she is trained in palliative care, but they all showed interest in becoming more
knowledgeable in this area and improving relationships between oncology clinics and
the palliative care team/hospices.
Dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree in
Masters of Technology: Nursing, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2012.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)

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