Knowledge and Practices Regarding Psychosocial Aspects of Palliative Care among Healthcare Workers in Ohangwena Region, Namibia

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.04.04.Art018

Authors : Hileni Niikondo, Kabwebwe H. Mitonga


In Namibia, palliative care service is necessitated by the situation of progressive life limiting illnesses, which demand access to psychosocially appropriate holistic palliative care. Little is known about the knowledge and practice of healthcare workers on the psychosocial aspects of holistic palliative care.

This study was conducted to critically analyze the knowledge and practice of healthcare workers on psychosocial aspects of holistic palliative care and identify their training needs.

A cross-sectional analytical study was conducted in the public health facilities in Ohangwena region, amongst the randomly selected sample of 56 healthcare workers. Structured questionnaires were self administered to capture the respondent’s knowledge and skills.

Respondents mean age was 36.2 ± 9.81.Male respondents were 20 (35.71%) while female were 36 (64.29%). Of the 56 healthcare workers who participated in the study, 2 (3.6%) were medical practitioners, 44 (78.6%) nurses, 1 (1.8%) physiotherapists, 3 (5.4%) social workers and 6 (10.7%) pharmacists. Mean years of professional experience was 9.43± 9.62. Most healthcare workers 39 (69.6%) indicated not received any training on holistic palliative care.

Knowledge of correct classification for morphine was associated with access to internet (p<0.05). There was a significant association between those confronted by palliative care situation and knowledge of morphine (p<0.05). Knowledge of pain intensity among children was significantly associated with access to internet (p=0.01). Healthcare workers lack knowledge in the psychosocial aspects of holistic palliative care which can implicate the quality of care to patients. This study suggested training of healthcare workers as well as internet access.

Keywords: Palliative care, healthcare workers, knowledge, psychosocial care, pain, training


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