Telephone Versus Face to Face Palliative Care Consults During Referral

John Weru*

Telephone Versus Face to Face Palliative Care Consults During Referral.

Palliative care aims at ameliorating patients and families suffering when they are faced with life-limiting illnesses. It involves symptoms management as well as psychosocial, spiritual support.

As such, proper communication between clinicians taking care of the patient is an important aspect of this care. Studies have shown that errors in communication are common and relevant in palliative care as they negatively impact on the quality of care provided.

The service at Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi provides both in and
out patient consult services. Primary physicians to patients consult the palliative care team via telephone models as well as face to face talks.

There is a lot of literature regarding patient/family member consultation with a doctor but little has been done on understanding the efficacy of doctor to doctor telephone discussion on a patient being referred from one service provider to another.

The aim was to assess the adequacy of information regarding the patient given in telephone consults versus face to face consults during the referral process.

This was a cross-sectional study. 60 consults to the palliative care team were assessed, these were consults
received over a period of 4 months; 36 were telephone consults and the rest face to face. It is evident that a telephone consult is less informative than a face to face consult.

Palliat Med Hosp Care Open J. 2016; 2(1): 17-20. doi: 10.17140/PMHCOJ-2-113