OBJECTIVE To explore issues family physicians face in providing community-b
ased palliative care to their patients in the context of a changing health
DESIGN Focus groups.
SETTING Small (<10000 population), medium-sized (10000 to 50000), and large
(>50000) communities in Nova Scotia.
PARTICIPANTS Twenty-five men and women physicians with varying years of pra
ctice experience in both solo and group practices.
METHOD A semistructured approach was used, asking physicians to reflect on
recent palliative care experiences in order to explore issues of care.
MAIN FINDINGS Five themes emerged from the discussions: resources needed, a
vailability of family support, time and money supporting physicians' activi
ties, symptom control for patients, and physicians' emotional reactions to
caring for dying patients.
CONCLUSION With downsizing of hospitals and greater emphasis on community-b
ased care, the issues identified in this study will need attention, particu
larly in designing an integrated service delivery model for palliative care