New European study: Palliative care in long-term care settings for older people

Katherine Froggatt (International Observatory on End of Life Care, Lancaster University, UK) and Elisabeth Reitinger (IFF-Palliative Care and Organizational Ethics, University of Klagenfurt, Vienna, Austria), co-chairs of the EAPC Taskforce on Palliative Care in Long-term Care Settings for Older People reflect on what they have learnt from the work of the Taskforce.

Katherine Froggatt

Katherine Froggatt

Elisabeth Reitinger

Elisabeth Reitinger

We are both very pleased to see that the report of the work of this Taskforce is now available via the EAPC website, providing the first collation of data across Europe in palliative care in long-term care settings for older people. There had been growing interest in this area at EAPC conferences for a number of years before the Taskforce was established. The support of the EAPC Board in 2010 to establish the Taskforce has given this aspect of palliative care a much higher profile. The aim of the Taskforce was to provide a European overview on palliative care initiatives in long-term care facilities that sought to improve the care that older people receive towards the end of their lives.

The report looks at two aspects of this work:

  • The context of care provision in long-term care facilities in each country
  • A compendium of current initiatives in 12 European countries has been collated.

Whilst there are many similarities across Europe in terms of the importance of long- term care facilities as a place of care for frail older people, the different health and social care systems in each country determine the different ways in which palliative care can be provided in them.

Wide range of initiatives
We have been able to gather information on more than 60 initiatives to date. These range from very patient-focused interventions to more complex initiatives that seek to improve the coordination of care within, and between, care organsiations to the benefit of residents.

Examples of individually-focused interventions address pain control for people with advanced dementia (in Norway). Staff initiatives include the introduction of memorial boxes to help them mark the death of a resident in a facility (in the Netherlands), and organisational initiatives such as the Gold Standards Framework have been developed to provide a structure of palliative care delivery in the facility (in the UK).

We are really encouraged that the Taskforce has already engaged with 13 countries. However, we won’t stop there and are now working to find other ways to support an even more comprehensive mapping across all parts of Europe.

Please share your examples of current practice
This Taskforce is part of an ongoing exchange of experiences between providers, developers and researchers of palliative care in long-term care settings in different countries – and we want to see this work continue. There is therefore the opportunity to submit new examples of current practice to the Compendium of Current Practice.

If you’d like to share examples of your initiatives with others across Europe, please go to our Taskforce web page and complete the template.

We have found the work of the Taskforce to be immensely interesting and have enjoyed working with colleagues from across Europe and beyond. Thanks to all of you who engaged in the work during the past years. If you want to join our further journey please come to the pre-conference workshop at the EAPC congress in Prague this year on Thursday 30 May 2013!

To find out more….
Read more about the Taskforce on Palliative Care in Long-Term Care Settings for Older People and download the full report of our work from the Results Outcome section of the page.

To contribute your initiatives to our Compendium of Current Practice, please download a template from our Taskforce web page. (You’ll find the link in the section called Future work’).

Click here for more information about other EAPC Taskforces and how you can apply to set up a Taskforce. 


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