Presented by: Monica Fliedner
In alignment with international developments, the Swiss government prioritized palliative care (PC) as an important tool to enhance public health initiatives such as advance care planning. However, little is known about the meaning of PC to the Swiss general public – this is essential to further raise public awareness towards PC and to support community partnerships.
Visitors to a traveling exhibition promoting PC completed an anonymous questionnaire containing three statements about their perceptions of PC (n=230). Answers to the item ‘When I hear the term palliative care, I think of…’ were analyzed through Content Analysis.
Participants’ mean age was 47 years, the majority were female (83%), and had had contact with PC services (58%). The main associations with PC were categorized under five areas: who is the focus of care, when is PC relevant, what areas are addressed, how are they managed, and outcomes of PC interventions. Positive associations with PC were common, while dying was defined as the specific timeframe for PC. Differences were identified between groups, e.g. those with no PC contact did not mention family as the unit of care, nor quality of life as an outcome.
Contrary to a common stigma towards PC, we identified mainly positive associations. However, these associations were still limited to the role of PC in death and dying. In order to engage the public in successful partnerships, a wider understanding of what PC is about is needed. Ways of educating and engaging the general public in PC initiatives will be discussed.