Can Croatian Medicine do Without Palliative Medicine? - Study Investigating the Need for Formal Education
The aim of this study was to determine the public′s, i.e. citizens′ attitude on one hand, and health-care professionals′ attitude on the other, regarding the public education in palliative care. Also, the assessment of health-care professionals′ attitude regarding the need to establish a sub-specialty in palliative medicine in Croatia was performed. The study was carried out during 2007 and 2008 in the capitals of 7 Croatian counties, involving 2353 participants. Two types of anonymous questionnaire were distributed. Citizens were surveyed at public places, business offices, waiting rooms, while health-care professionals were surveyed in medical centers. The survey was conducted personally by the authors, i.e. "face to face" with the respondents. The collected data were entered into a database and analyzed, taking into account the anonymity, privacy and data confidentiality. The response rate was 99% for the public and 97% for health-care professionals. 44% of the public thought that educating the public in palliative care is absolutely necessary, and 42% that it is mostly necessary; compared with 47% of health-care professionals who thought education was absolutely necessary, and 45% who thought it is mostly necessary. In addition, health-care professionals were asked about their opinion regarding the establishment of a sub-specialty in palliative medicine and 76% of respondents considered it absolutely necessary. Both the public and health-care professionals recognize the need for public education in palliative care. The authors wish to especially emphasize health-care professionals′ perception of a great need for the establishment of an official medical curriculum and a medical sub-specialty in palliative medicine.