Palliative Care Consultation (PCC) teams in The Netherlands give support to professional caregivers in palliative care. In contrast to many other countries, consultants only give advice. They do not give prescriptions. Most consultations are given by phone; in some, the consultant also visits the patient. For two years, the PCC teams registered all consultations prospectively on a standard registration form in a nationwide database. The aim of this study was to obtain more insight into the possible differences between telephone and bedsides consultations with regard to characteristics of consultants, requesting caregivers, and the patients, as well as the number and kind of problems discussed. The data demonstrate that bedside consultations show more variety in requesting caregivers and are conducted more often for patients. Bedside consultations also addressed a higher number of problems and a wider range of domains (e.g., psychological, spiritual, daily functioning, and support for informal caregivers). These results suggest that bedside consultations have a surplus value compared to telephone consultations. More rigorous study is needed to compare the relative merits of different methods of consultations in palliative care.

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Journal of Pain and Symptom Management
Department of Medical Oncology

Schrijnemaekers, V., Courtens, W., Kuin, A., van der Linden, B., Vernooij-Dassen, M. J. M., van Zuylen, L., & van den Beuken, M. (2005). A comparison between telephone and bedside consultations given by Palliative Care Consultation teams in The Netherlands: Results from a two-year nationwide registration. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 29(6), 552–558. doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2004.09.002