Expectations about and impact of the Liverpool Care Pathway for the dying patient in an Italian hospital

Silvia Di Leo, Monica Beccaro, Stefania Finelli, Claudia Borreani, Massimo Costantini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study is aimed at exploring the expectations about and the impact on healthcare staff of the Liverpool Care Pathway for the dying patient (LCP) in an Italian hospital. Qualitative information was derived from four focus group (FG) meetings that were carried out separately by profession and scheduled before the beginning and after the end of the implementation process of the Italian version of LCP for hospitals (LCP-I). Interview topics concerned end-of-life care related problems and expectations about the impact of the LCP-I programme. Tape recordings of the FGs were transcribed verbatim, and transcripts analysed independently by two research psychologists using thematic analysis.Five major topics were identified: managing pain and discontinuing inappropriate treatments, communicating with patients, communicating with relatives, communicating between professionals and practical issues. As compared with those reported in the initial FGs, responses from the final FGs highlighted that physicians felt more confident with pain management and with discontinuing inappropriate treatment, and were more inclined to recognize the value of the nurses' work. Nurses underlined advantages in using pro re nata medication, but stressed lack of personnel and time as obstacles in consistent improvement of end-of-life care. All participants seemed to acquire greater awareness of their difficulties in communication and, paradoxically, became more uncertain of their ability to liaise with dying patients and their families. LCP-I implementation may improve both knowledge about physical symptom management and professional awareness of the problems related to emotional and informative support in end-of-life care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-303
Number of pages11
JournalPalliative Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • End-of-life care
  • focus group
  • hospital healthcare staff
  • LCP-I

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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