A Study Protocol of Realist Evaluation of Palliative Home Care Program for Non-Cancer Patients in Singapore

Publications 7 Nov 2022 Hubertus Johannes Maria Vrijhoef |


Violet Program (ViP) was developed to address the current home palliative service gap for individuals with life limiting non-cancer conditions residing in the Eastern part of Singapore. While its basic principles and processes have been planned and implemented, how ViP works, for whom and in what circumstances are not yet well understood. Therefore, we propose for a realist evaluation (RE) – a theory-based evaluation, to address the current knowledge gaps. Evaluation findings may guide, support further development and broader uptake of ViP.

Methods and Analysis
This study will be conducted in three phases: 1. development of initial program theory (IPT), 2. testing of programme theory, and 3. refinement of IPT. First, IPT will be elicited through review of programme documents, scoping review of reviews and in-depth interviews with stakeholders involved in the conceptualization of ViP. Then, a convergent mixed method study will be conducted to assess contexts (C), mechanisms (M) and outcomes (O) to test the IPT through interviews with stakeholders, surveys and analysis of program and administrative databases. Based on findings gathered and through consultation with respective stakeholders, IPT will be refined to highlight what works (outcomes), how (mechanisms) and for whom under what conditions (contexts).

palliative care, home care services, realist evaluation, non-cancer
How to Cite: Nurjono M, Liaw K, Lee A, Vrijhoef HJM, Koh LH, Tan M, et al.. A Study Protocol of Realist Evaluation of Palliative Home Care Program for Non-Cancer Patients in Singapore. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2022;22(4):7. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.6497

Cross-country case analysis involving document review and semi-structured interviews with 27 local, regional and national level stakeholders in Italy, the Netherlands and Scotland. We used the Transparency, Accountability, Participation, Integrity and Capability (TAPIC) framework to structure our analytical enquiry to explore factors that influence the governance arrangements in each system.

Governance arrangements ranged from informal agreements in the Netherlands to mandated integration in Scotland. Novel service models were generally participative involving a wide range of stakeholders, including the public, although integration was seen to be driven, largely, from a health perspective. In Italy and Scotland some reversion to ‘command & control’ was reported in response to the imperatives of the Covid-19 pandemic. Policies, budgets, auditing and reporting systems that are clearly aligned at all levels were seen to help with implementing innovations in service organisation. Where alignment was lacking, cooperation and integration was suboptimal, regardless of whether governance arrangements were statutory or not. There was wide recognition of the importance of buy-in. Enablers of greater engagement included visible leadership, time and long-standing working relationships. Lack of suitable indicators and openness to data sharing to measure integration hindered working relationships and thus the successful delivery of integrated services.

Our study provides important insights into how to more effectively and efficiently govern service delivery structures within care systems. We will discuss approaches to governance that help support more resilient integrated care systems.

Key messages

  • Different governance arrangements face common challenges to greater integration of care. Enablers include strong leadership, inclusivity and openness to work across traditional boundaries.
  • Meeting the governance challenges of integrated health and social care requires clear lines of accountability, aligned policies, budgets and reporting systems.

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