BACKGROUND: Palliative care aims to contribute to pain relief, improvement with regard to symptoms and enhancement of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of patients with chronic conditions. Most of the palliative care protocols, programmes and units are predominantly focused on patients with cancer and their specific needs. Patients with non-cancer chronic conditions may also have significantly impaired HRQoL and poor survival, but do not yet receive appropriate and holistic care. The traditional focus of palliative care has been at the end-of-life stages instead of the relatively early phases of serious chronic conditions. The 'Patient-centred pathways of early palliative care, supportive ecosystems and appraisal standard' (InAdvance) project implements and evaluates early palliative care in the daily clinical routine addressing patients with complex chronic conditions in the evolution towards advanced stages. The objective of the current study is to evaluate the acceptability, feasibility, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of this novel model of palliative care in the relatively early phases in patients with chronic conditions. METHODS: In this study, a single blind randomised controlled trial design will be employed. A total of 320 participants (80 in each study site and 4 sites in total) will be randomised on a 1:1 basis to the Palliative Care Needs Assessment (PCNA) arm or the Care-as-Usual arm. This study includes a formative evaluation approach as well as a cost-effectiveness analysis with a within-trial horizon. Study outcomes will be assessed at baseline, 6 weeks, 6 months, 12 months and 18 months after the implementation of the interventions. Study outcomes include HRQoL, intensity of symptoms, functional status, emotional distress, caregiving burden, perceived quality of care, adherence to treatment, feasibility, acceptability, and appropriateness of the intervention, intervention costs, other healthcare costs and informal care costs. DISCUSSION: The InAdvance project will evaluate the effect of the implementation of the PCNA intervention on the target population in terms of effectiveness and cost-effectiveness in four European settings. The evidence of the project will provide step-wise guidance to contribute an increased evidence base for policy recommendations and clinical guidelines, in an effort to augment the supportive ecosystem for palliative care. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN, ISRCTN24825698 . Registered 17/12/2020.
This work was supported by the InAdvance project, grant number 825750,
funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation
programme. The study protocol has undergone full external peer review by
the European Union as part of the peer review process. The European Union
had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management,
analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the
manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
Trial sponsor: UK/Portugal/Greece sites: Sponsor NHS Highland.
Spain site: Sponsor The University and Polytechnic La Fe Hospital of Valencia.
© 2022. The Author(s).