Patient navigation to enhance palliative cancer care services in rural India

Kolkata, India
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The need for palliative care is growing—notably because of the increasing trends in chronic or non-communicable disease around the world. According to MUSC investigators, 80 percent of patients who need palliative care live in low to middle resource countries. What’s worse is that only 10 percent of these patients have access to palliative care services. Patients with cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and HIV need access to care to improve the quality of life not just for themselves, but their families. MUSC College of Nursing principal investigators, Suparna Qanungo, PhD, and Kathleen Cartmell, PhD, MPH, seek to fill holes in research and care that only recently have been getting the attention it deserves. Tellingly, the World Health Organization (WHO) published the first Atlas of Palliative Care just last year.  

The lack of evidence-based models for palliative care in low income countries have prompted investigators to explore the feasibility of utilizing local patient navigators to deliver home-based palliative care services in a low resource setting in rural Kolkata India. The researchers will use a sequential mixed methods approach to conduct key informant interviews with center administrators, clinicians and patients to develop a palliative care navigation intervention protocol based upon the WHO’s Palliative Care Navigation Toolkit.  They will also pilot test the intervention to ensure that it fits with the existing cancer center’s infrastructure and best meets patients’ needs in rural India.  To evaluate the program, researchers will conduct feasibility testing of the palliative care intervention protocol using a single arm trial design. 

Associated Faculty & Staff

Global Health Issues

  • Palliative Care
  • Cancer

Medical Specialty

Nursing