e. “the right of individuals to make their own choices about how they should live and die” . In order to understand if an implicit model of best practice in palliative care does exist, we carried out a qualitative analysis of the statements on practice and ethics of palliative care expressed by the main health organizations to show which dimensions of end-of-life care are taken into consideration. Methods This qualitative study aims at investigating the notion of “best palliative care practice” arising from the official documents by the most representative
health organizations #Wnt assay keyword# committed to the definition of policies and guidelines for palliative and end-of-life care. The organizations and their documents were selected on the basis of the following three criteria: – The organization is representative (e.g. on an international or on a national level) of several associations or of professional Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical groups involved in health care. – The organization has produced documents on ethical, physical and psycho-social issues related to end-of-life care. – The documents analysed focus on the general practice of palliative
care, pain relief and the care of dying patients in general, or deal with more specific end-of-life issues, such as euthanasia, assistance of patients in a permanent vegetative state, sedation at Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical the end of life, and the use of nutrition and hydration, assisted suicide. The selection and analysis of the documents have been carried out in two phases: a first survey Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical was completed in 2007; this first survey was updated in 2008 in order to find out recently published documents, as well as revisions of the documents included in the first survey. The procedure adopted for finding the documents combined two methods: – A retrieval of the Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical directories of organizations available on the websites of the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC Directory: http://www.hospicecare.com/yp/)
and of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC Directory: http://www.eapcnet.org/organisations/OffBodies&Ass.html), which allowed to identify several organizations that produced documents. – A document research on the web (Google search: “position statement” AND (“dying” OR “end of life care” OR “good death” OR “palliative care”)), by which it was possible to find out additional documents from a number of organizations that were not included in the directories of the IAHPC and of the EAPC. The documents already were classified as: a) Documents of palliative care institutions, or other medical or health institutions; b) Documents on end-of-life/terminality in general, or on a specific situation/need/symptom of end-of-life; c) Documents classifying themselves as “position statement” (in the title), or “others”. The documents were analysed through a framework of the components of end-of-life care which was developed on the basis of a literature search in a previous work .