The opioid epidemic and the impact on opioid prescribing in hospice and palliative care: a qualitative description

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Joshua Borders (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Susan Letvak

Abstract: The United States has seen rising rates of opioid abuse, which have led to changing policies designed to curb opioid prescribing. These guidelines and policies generally exclude hospice and palliative care from prescribing restrictions. However, no studies to date have thoroughly examined the impact of these policies to identify if there are unintended consequences affecting opioid prescribing within hospice and palliative care. This is the first known qualitative description study to explore the perceptions of hospice and palliative care clinicians on how the opioid epidemic and related policies are affecting opioid prescribing within the specialty. The study addressed the literature gap by answering the following two research questions: 1. How has the opioid epidemic and related policies affected opioid prescribing practices among hospice and palliative care clinicians, and 2. How do hospice and palliative care clinicians perceive patients’ end of life care has been impacted by the opioid epidemic and related policies? The research was guided by the Theory of Planned Behavior and used in vivo coding and content analysis to describe the phenomenon using the participants’ own language. Findings from the study revealed that the opioid epidemic and related policies have had four categories of impact on the patient, clinician, nursing, and specialty. A total of 12 subcategories describe the nature of this impact.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Hospice, Opioid Epidemic, Opioid Prescribing, Palliative Care
Hospice care
Palliative treatment
Drugs $x Prescribing $z United States
Opioid abuse $z United States

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