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Kathrin Woitha, from the ICS ATLANTES Program, defends her thesis in the Netherlands.

Its doctorate focuses on quality indicators for the organization of palliative care and has been co-funded by the European Commission's Consumers, Health and Food Executive Agency.

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Kathrin Woitha and Carlos Centeno, after the defense of thesis . PHOTO: Courtesy
24/09/14 11:41

Kathrin Woitha, German Kathrin Woitha, assistant of research of the ATLANTES Program Program of the Institute for Culture and Society of the University of Navarra, defended her doctoral thesis 'Quality Indicators for the Organisation of Palliative Care in Europe' in Radboud University Medical Center (The Netherlands). Carlos Centeno, researcher project , was present at the defense.

Kathrin Woitha has conducted the programs of study of this scientific work at the department of Anesthesiology, Pain and Palliative Medicine of the Dutch academic center. They were co-funded by a scholarship of the Consumers, Health and Food Executive Agency of the European Commissionfor 'Best practice in palliative care'.

In the first part of thesis , 'Organization of palliative care', he provides a synopsis of some analytical preparatory steps to understand the organization of palliative care and identify possible quality indicators to describe it.

Also, this introduction makes reference letter to the fact that palliative care is a relatively young field of medicine, with a approach on the development continuum, which in several European countries is not yet supported by structural health policies of Ministries of Health.

assessment and quality improvement

According to the researcher, different models for the organization of palliative care were reviewed between 2008 and 2010 and many of their characteristics were summarized. An important role in this process was played by an international glossary of quality indicators, terminology , which was developed by the team at Radboud University Medical Center, to which Kathrin Woitha belonged, in order to set standards for understanding the terms used in the various projects at research.

The second part, 'development of quality indicators for the palliative care organization', deals with the development of specific indicators for the assessment of the palliative care organization. As the German doctor explains, the starting point was the statement of the European committee in 2003 that "the definition and adoption of indicators of good palliative care, assessing all dimensions of care from the patient's perspective, should be encouraged".

"In 2009," explains Kathrin Woitha, "Europe's committee again emphasized the development of indicators for monitoring progress in patient care and healthcare organization. Until these statements, there had been no clear definitions about the quality of the structure and process of the palliative care organization, and how it should be evaluated or improved."