The ENCOMPASS project (Ensuring Core Outcomes and Measuring Palliation in Sub-Saharan Africa) was a collaboration between five of the leading palliative care providers in South Africa and Uganda, King's College London and Cicely Saunders International, with funding from the Big Lottery Fund. Members of the Standards and Research committees of APCA (African Palliative Care Association) and HPCA (Hospice Palliative Care Association South Africa) and the South African Dept of Health HIV Care Standards Committee were represented in the project.
The devastating impact of the AIDS pandemic has led to a chronic need for high-quality palliative care services in sub-Saharan Africa, and measuring quality of care is key to meeting this need. The ENCOMPASS project validated the first outcome measurement tool (the APCA African Palliative Outcome Scale (POS)) to measure the quality of palliative care in Africa, and then applied the tool in a full clinical audit at five participating sites. The measure covers patients' physical, psychosocial and spiritual well being, as well as family carers' needs.
Since the beginning of the project in February 2006 a significant amount of interest has been generated in the APCA African POS within Africa and internationally. PEPFAR (the US Government HIV programme) is now using the POS for service evaluation, with other funders also expressing interest in utilising it as the standard tool for funding. Cicely Saunders International is promoting the measurement tool in the UK, and palliative care advocacy bodies in Africa are planning roll-out across the continent. Validation of the APCA African POS during the ENCOMPASS study involved 683 patient and 423 carer interviews across 5 sites in 2 countries (4 in South Africa, 1 in Uganda).