Buy this Article for $10.95

Have a coupon or promotional code? Enter it here:

When you buy this you'll get access to the ePub version, a downloadable PDF, and the ability to print the full article.


barriers, lack of knowledge, palliative care



  1. Melvin, Christina S. MS, PHCNS, BC


This article examines the issue of late referrals to palliative care for individuals facing life-limiting disease/illness. The primary purpose of the study was to examine barriers to timely referral to palliative care. The secondary purpose was to explore the impact of late referral on quality of life for palliative care patients and their families. The author used a phenomenological research design. The literature provides clear evidence that the needs of dying people are unique and require specialized care. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 13 patients and six family members. Interviews were tape recorded, transcribed, and content analyzed. In this article, findings are reported from both patients and families in Perth, Western Australia. Lack of knowledge about palliative care services and its benefits was an overarching theme among all three groups studied (healthcare providers [reported in an earlier article], patients, and families). This research study finds that additional burden is placed on patients and families when referral to palliative care is late in the disease trajectory.