Background: There is growing interest in the use of a Palliative care approach in Intensive care. However, it tends to remain inconsistent, infrequent or non-existent, as does its acceptance by intensive care physicians. This study sought to explore the perceptions, level of knowledge, perceived barriers, and practices of physicians regarding palliative care practices (PC) in Intensive Care Units (ICU). Methods: Descriptive-correlational study. Participating physicians working in ICU in Colombia (n = 101) completed an ad hoc questionnaire that included subscales of perceptions, knowledge, perceived barriers, and PC practices in ICU. A Structural Equation Model (PLS-SEM) was used to examine the reciprocal relationships between the measured variables and those that could predict interaction practices between the 2 specialties. Results: First, results from the measurement model to examine the validity and reliability of the latent variables found (PC training, favorable perceptions about PC, institutional barriers, and ICU-PC interaction practices) and their indicators were obtained. Second, the structural model found that, a greater number of hours of PC training, a favorable perception of PC and a lower perception of institutional barriers are related to greater interaction between PC and ICU, particularly when emotional or family problems are detected. Conclusions: PC-ICU interactions are influenced by training, a positive perception of PC and less perceived institutional barriers. An integrated ICU-PC model that strengthens the PC training of those who work in ICU and provides clearer guidelines for interaction practices, may help overcome perceived barriers and improve the perception of the potential impact of PC.
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© The Author(s) 2020.