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My name is Ian Koper and I am a PhD-candidate in the end-of-life care research group of the public and occupational health department of VUmc. My promotor is prof. dr. Bregje Onwuteaka-Philipsen and my co-promotor is dr. Roeline Pasman.

The title of the research project I'm participating in is 'Further development of PaTz as an instrument to improve palliative care in the primary care setting.' PaTz is an acronym for Palliative Thuiszorg (Palliative Home Care), it is a programme in which general practitioners and district nurses come together once every two months to identify and discuss palliative patients and proactively plan care for these patients. The PaTz-groups are supervised by a palliative care consultant. Currently (summer 2017), there are approximately 120 active PaTz-groups in the Netherlands. The aim of the project is to further develop the PaTz-method and get more groups started. 

The PaTz-method was first introduced in the Netherlands in 2010 by Bart Schweitzer. Over the years, PaTz has proven to improve palliative care in the primary care setting. Meanwhile, several points of improvement have become clear: it proves difficult to motivate general practitioners to participate in yet another initiative, the PaTz-method needs to be developed further, and several variants of PaTz have spawned. It is unclear how these variants relate to the basic PaTz-concept in regard to time investment, feasibility and care results. 

In order to further develop PaTz we perform a needs assessment among stakeholders in palliative care in the primary care setting (general practitioners, patients, informal caregivers, district nurses, spiritual caregivers and volunteers), develop the PaTz-method (develop more training for participants, develop a simple but effective and supportive PaTz-register, and develop a toolkit of instruments), and compare four variants of PaTz with regard to the time investment, structure, feasibility, and outcomes. Finally, we will combine the insights from these three parts in an implementation plan to both start new PaTz-groups and update the existing groups to the new insights.