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Proactive and systematic multidimensional needs assessment in patients with advanced cancer approaching palliative care: a study protocol
  1. Denise Pergolizzi1,
  2. Iris Crespo2,
  3. Albert Balaguer1,3,
  4. Cristina Monforte-Royo4,
  5. Alberto Alonso-Babarro5,
  6. Maria Arantzamendi6,
  7. Alazne Belar6,
  8. Carlos Centeno6,7,
  9. Blanca Goni-Fuste4,
  10. Joaquim Julià-Torras8,
  11. Marina Martinez6,
  12. Dolors Mateo-Ortega9,
  13. Luis May10,
  14. Deborah Moreno-Alonso11,
  15. Maria Nabal Vicuña12,
  16. Antonio Noguera6,7,
  17. Antonio Pascual13,
  18. Encarnacion Perez-Bret14,
  19. Javier Rocafort14,
  20. Andrea Rodríguez-Prat15,
  21. Dulce Rodriguez16,
  22. Carme Sala9,
  23. Judith Serna17,
  24. Josep Porta-Sales4,18
  1. 1 School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2 Department of Basic Sciences, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
  3. 3 Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Hospital Universitari General de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
  4. 4 Nursing Department, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
  5. 5 La Paz University Hospital, Madrid Autonomous University, Madrid, Spain
  6. 6 Clínica Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
  7. 7 Instituto de Cultura y Sociedad, Universidad de Navarra, IdiSNA, Pamplona, Spain
  8. 8 Institut Català d’Oncologia Badalona, Badalona, Spain
  9. 9 Consorci Sanitari de Terrassa, Terrassa, Spain
  10. 10 Hospital Universitari Arnau de Vilanova, Lleida, Spain
  11. 11 Institut Català d’Oncologia L'Hospitalet, L'Hospitalet, Spain
  12. 12 Palliative Care Supportive Team, Hospital Universitari Arnau de Vilanova, Lleida, Spain
  13. 13 Hospital Universitari Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain
  14. 14 Fundación Vianorte-Laguna, Madrid, Spain
  15. 15 Department of Humanities, School of Humanities, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
  16. 16 Hospital Universitari Sant Joan de Reus, Reus, Spain
  17. 17 Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron, Barcelona, Spain
  18. 18 Institut Català d’Oncologia Girona, Girona, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Cristina Monforte-Royo; cmonforte{at}


Introduction The benefits of palliative care rely on how healthcare professionals assess patients’ needs in the initial encounter/s; crucial to the design of a personalised therapeutic plan. However, there is currently no evidence-based guideline to perform this needs assessment. We aim to design and evaluate a proactive and systematic method for the needs assessment using quality guidelines for developing complex interventions. This will involve patients, their relatives and healthcare professionals in all phases of the study and its communication to offer clinical practice a reliable approach to address the palliative needs of patients.

Methods and analysis To design and assess the feasibility of an evidence-based, proactive and systematic Multidimensional needs Assessment in Palliative care (MAP) as a semistructured clinical interview guide for initial palliative care encounter/s in patients with advanced cancer. This is a two-phase multisite project conducted over 36 months between May 2019 and May 2022. Phase I includes a systematic review, discussions with stakeholders and Delphi consensus. The evidence gathered from phase I will be the basis for the initial versions of the MAP, then submitted to Delphi consensus to develop a preliminary guide of the MAP for the training of clinicians in the feasibility phase. Phase II is a mixed-methods multicenter feasibility study that will assess the MAP’s acceptability, participation, practicality, adaptation and implementation. A nested qualitative study will purposively sample a subset of participants to add preliminary clues about the benefits and barriers of the MAP. The evidence gathered from phase II will build a MAP user guide and educational programme for use in clinical practice.

Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval for this study has been granted by the university research ethics committee where the study will be carried out (approval reference MED-2018-10). Dissemination will be informed by the results obtained and communication will occur throughout.

  • cancer
  • advanced cancer
  • adult palliative care
  • palliative medicine
  • multidimensional needs assessment
  • comprehensive assessment

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  • Contributors DP drafted the manuscript. IC provided critical review and revisions. ABa, CM-R and JP-S contributed the conception of study design as well as methodology and analysis alongside AA-B, MA, AB, CC, JJ, MM, DM-O, LM, DM-A, MNV, AN, AP, EP-B, JR, DR, CS, JP-S. DP, IC, BG-F and AR-P contributed intellectual content and development of the protocol. All authors reviewed and revised the manuscript before submission and approved its content.

  • Funding This work was supported by Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER) grant number PI19/01901.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Full ethical approval for this study has been obtained from the university ethics committee leading the study (approval reference MED-2018-10). Data collection and analysis will be conducted following the ethical principles of research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.