Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Health professionals’ perceptions of palliative care for end-stage cardiac and respiratory conditions: a qualitative interview study

Fairlamb, Hannah J.; Murtagh, Fliss E.M.


Hannah J. Fairlamb


Background: End-stage cardiac and respiratory diseases are common in the UK. People with these end-stage conditions experience similar, or even worse, symptomatic suffering to cancer patients but are less likely to receive specialist palliative care services. The objective of this study is to explore health professional perceptions and current practices in relation to specialist palliative care for patients with end-stage cardiac and respiratory disease. Methods: Qualitative study using in-depth interviews with health professionals, audio recorded and transcribed verbatim for thematic analysis. The study was conducted with doctors and nurses from cardiology, respiratory, and palliative care specialities in the UK. The participants had to be involved clinically in providing care to people with end-stage cardiac or respiratory diseases. Results: A total of 16 health professionals participated (5 cardiology, 5 respiratory, and 6 palliative care). Participants reported variable disease trajectories in these diseases making deciding on timing of palliative care involvement difficult. This was complicated by lack of advance care planning discussions, attributed to poor communication, and lack of health professional time and confidence. Participants reported poor interdepartmental education and limited specialist palliative care involvement in multidisciplinary teams. Conclusions: Palliative care for end-stage cardiac and respiratory diseases needs more attention in research and practice. Better integration of advance care planning discussions and early patient education/professional awareness are needed to enable timely referral to palliative care. Moreover, increased interdepartmental working for health professionals via joint educational and clinical meetings is perceived as likely to support earlier and increased referral to specialist palliative care services.


Fairlamb, H. J., & Murtagh, F. E. (2021). Health professionals’ perceptions of palliative care for end-stage cardiac and respiratory conditions: a qualitative interview study. BMC Palliative Care, 20(1), Article 103.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 11, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 7, 2021
Publication Date Dec 1, 2021
Deposit Date Aug 31, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 1, 2021
Journal BMC Palliative Care
Print ISSN 1472-684X
Electronic ISSN 1472-684X
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 1
Article Number 103
Keywords Palliative care; Hospice and palliative care nursing; Advance care planning; Cardiology; Respiratory tract diseases
Public URL


Published article (846 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© The Author(s) 2021. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativeco applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations