Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 218--223

Understanding the organization of hospital-based palliative care in a Nigerian Hospital: An ethnographic study

1 Faculty of Health and Society, University of Northampton, Northampton, UK
2 School of Life Science, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
3 Department of Anaesthesia, Pain and Palliative Care Unit, Multidisciplinary Oncology Centre, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Ituku-Ozalla Campus, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. David A Agom
Faculty of Health and Society, University of Northampton, Waterside Campus, University Drive, Northampton
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_12_19

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Context: Organization and delivery of palliative care (PC) services vary from one country to another. In Nigeria, PC has continued to develop, yet the organization and scope of PC is not widely known by most clinicians and the public. Objectives: The aim of the study is to identify PC services available in a Nigerian Hospital and how they are organized. Methods: This ethnographic study, utilized documentary analysis, participant observation, and ethnographic interviews (causal chat during observation and individual interviews) to gather data from members of PC team comprising doctors (n = 10), nurses (n = 4), medical social workers (n = 2), a physiotherapist, and a pharmacist, as well nurses from the oncology department (n = 3). Data were analyzed using Spradley's framework for ethnographic data analysis. Results: PC was found to be largely adult patient-centered. A hospital-based care delivery model, in the forms of family meetings, in- and out-patients' consultation services, and a home-based delivery model which is primarily home visits conducted once in a week, were the two models of care available in the studied hospital. The members of the PC team operated two shift patterns from 7:00 am to 2.00 pm and a late shift from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm instead of 24 h service provision. Conclusions: Although PC in this hospital has made significant developmental progress, the organization and scope of services are suggestive of the need for more development, especially in manpower and collaborative care. This study provided knowledge that could be used to improve the clinical practice of PC in various cross-cultural Nigerian societies and other African context, as well as revealing areas for PC development.


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