A comparison between telephone and bedside consultations given by Palliative Care Consultation teams in The Netherlands: Results from a two-year nationwide registration

Veron Schrijnemaekers, Annemie Courtens, Annemieke Kuin, Barbara Van Der Linden, Myrra Vernooij-Dassen, Lia Van Zuylen, Marieke Van Den Beuken

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-558
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Consultation teams
  • Evaluation
  • Palliative care

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