Reflections of IAHPC Board Members

2013; Volume 14, No 4, April

Reflections of IAHPC Board Members

By Professor Scott A Murray (UK), Board Member since 2010

Palliative care in the community: the only way to reach all in need

Since 2012, I have had the privilege of chairing a new European Association of Palliative Care Taskforce, “Palliative Care in Primary Care.” Its goal is to suggest how palliative care provision might be best developed and encouraged in primary care settings internationally, and to publish guidance for national advocacy campaigns to support this. In the paragraph below, we highlight the untapped potential of palliative care in the community to reach all in need.

“The potential of delivering palliative care in the community

More patients will benefit if palliative and end-of-life care is delivered in the community. Primary care working with palliative care specialists in the community can:

For this to happen, GPs and nurses working in the community will require training and support by specialist palliative care teams. They will also need adequate time, financial and practical resources, and the ability to prescribe morphine when appropriate.”

Source: EAPC Taskforce on Palliative Care in Primary Care in the Community, 2013.

The EAPC taskforce has a workshop on Thursday, 30th May at 1.30 at the 13th World Congress of the EAPC in Prague which is already fully booked. However, I would like to invite everyone to contribute to this really important development.

Please read the resource toolkit we have drafted, and comment on it to make it as relevant as possible for your own country by completing the survey instrument.

Click here to access the EAPC palliative care in the community toolkit.

Click here to complete the toolkit survey

In the meanwhile, the International Primary Palliative Care Network http://www.uq.edu.au/primarypallcare/ was founded 7 years ago by Geoff Mitchell and me to stimulate and support more research in palliative care in the community. It will have its annual meeting at the WONCA (International GP) meeting also in Prague on 25th June 2013, and everyone is most welcome. Amy Abernethy, one of our members, co-wrote a magnificent perspective in the NEJM in March entitled “Generalist plus Specialist Palliative Care – Creating a More Sustainable Model”. http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMp1215620. It is well worth reading.

Meanwhile back in Scotland my own research team together with Mhoira Leng and Julia Downing from Uganda led our annual Master class on International Palliative Care Research and Development. http://www.lifelong.ed.ac.uk/palliativecare/

I believe this is now the time for palliative care specialists to really support and train generalists in the community and indeed in hospitals to be able to provide palliative care in the community and in our hospitals. This would leave specialists the time to focus on complex cases or patients with particular problems, while spending the other half of their time in training and support.

Scott A Murray, MD, is The Director of the Primary Palliative Care Research Group, at Edinburgh University, UK. He is also the co-chairman of the International Primary Palliative Care Research Group. http://www.cphs.mvm.ed.ac.uk/groups/ppcrg/

Dr. Murray is a Member of the IAHPC Board. His bio may be found here.

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