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BACKGROUND: Evidence indicates that hypodermoclysis is as safe and effective as intravenous rehydration in the treatment of the symptomatology produced by mild to moderate dehydration in patients for whom oral route administration is not possible. However, the knowledge about the use of the subcutaneous hydration and its correlates is still limited.

AIM: To explore the perceptions, attitudes and opinions of health professionals in palliative care on the administration of subcutaneous hydration.

DESIGN: This is a qualitative focus group study with health professionals of palliative care. Four focus groups were carried out until data saturation. A qualitative content analysis was performed.

SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: A total of 37 participants, physicians and nurses, were recruited from different services of palliative care in Spain.

RESULTS: In all, 856 meaning units were identified, from which 56 categories were extracted and grouped into 22 sub-themes, which were distributed among four themes: ‘factors which influence the hydration decision’, ‘factors related to the choice of the subcutaneous route for hydration’, ‘the subcutaneous hydration procedure’ and ‘performance guidelines and/or protocols’.

CONCLUSIONS: Variables which most often influence the use of subcutaneous route to hydration are those that are linked to the characteristics of the patient, the team and the family, and other like the context and professionals’ subjective perceptions about this medical practice.


Cabañero-Martínez, M.J., Velasco-Álvarez, M.L., Ramos-Pichardo, J.D., Ruiz Miralles, M.L., Priego Valladares, M. and Cabrero-García, J. (2015) Perceptions of health professionals on subcutaneous hydration in palliative care: A qualitative study. Palliative Medicine. November 25th. .

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