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Researchers propose that journalistic coverage of palliative care should emphasize the quality of life that palliative care provides to patients.

A work of the ATLANTES program of the ICS on the message of palliative care in the written press, second best oral communication of the X National congress of the Spanish Society of Palliative Care (SECPAL).

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21/11/14 17:12 Isabel Solana

Researchers of the ATLANTES Program Program at Institute for Culture and Society of the University of Navarra propose that journalistic coverage of palliative care should be closer to internship and emphasize the contributions that palliative care can make to the quality of life of patients and their environment.

This is the main conclusion of work 'The message of palliative care. An analysis of the written press', which has obtained the award for the second best oral communication at the X National congress of the Spanish Society of Palliative Care (SECPAL). It was prepared by Carlos Centeno, researcher main project of the ICS; sociologist José Miguel Carrasco; and Javier Errea and Miriam García, of Errea Comunicación.

Through the database MyNews, the team selected all news items appearing between 2009 and 2014 in print and online editions that included the terms 'palliative care' or 'palliative medicine'. A total of 260 articles were analyzed using quantitative description and qualitative content analysis. 

Benefits for patients

According to the authors of the communication, agreement , "information on palliative care is rarely addressed or provided in a specific way (purpose, activity, etc.)" and is used in an instrumental way to address aspects related to the health care management and the political context.

"The message conveyed about palliative care focuses mainly on the process of dying and only occasionally on the benefits it can have for patients. It is often overshadowed by social discussion issues such as euthanasia or the concept of dignified death," they stressed.

With respect to other lines of research that they are interested in developing in the future, they proposed the following topics: exploring the social perception of palliative care, how the image of palliative care influences patients and their families, and the role of the professionals of this discipline in the construction of the palliative care message.

The ATLANTES Program is one of the eight projects of Institute for Culture and Society, the research center at Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Navarra.