Evaluating palliative care: facilitating reflexive dialogues about an ambiguous concept.

T. A. Abma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Palliation is a relatively new concept that is used in connection with the integral care provided to those who are unable to recover from their illness. The specific meaning of the concept has not been clearly defined. This article explores the possibilities offered by a responsive approach to evaluation that can facilitate a reflexive dialogue on this ambiguous concept. In doing so it draws on a case study of a palliative care project in a Dutch health care authority. The article begins with an overview of the characteristics of a responsive approach to evaluation and addresses interpretative, representational and practical dilemmas. It goes on to present a series of dialogues between health professionals, informal caregivers, patients and evaluators. These dialogues take the form of juxtaposed stories, transcribed conversations and interpretations. Finally, the learning experiences are summarised and the appropriateness of the responsive approach to evaluate palliative care is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-276
Number of pages16
JournalMedicine, health care, and philosophy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001

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