Scott Murray, Co-chair, EAPC Taskforce on Palliative Care in Primary Care in the Community and St Columba’s Hospice Chair of Primary Palliative Care; Adam Firth, EAPC Taskforce Steering Group Member and Clinical Research Fellow, Primary Palliative Care Research Group, Scotland.
There is great potential for more and better palliative care in the community. An EAPC taskforce to explore ‘Palliative care in primary care – in the community’ was established in January 2012 with a plan to learn what facilitates and hinders the development of primary palliative care across Europe. The overall goal being to suggest how palliative care provision might be best developed and encouraged in primary care settings and to publish guidance for national advocacy campaigns that would support this.
The EAPC Prague Charter calls for governments to recognise that access to palliative care is a legal obligation and highlights the need for the integration of palliative care into healthcare systems at all levels – we would propose that only primary care settings can provide sufficient population coverage to meet the recommendations of the charter.
The ‘Palliative care in primary care – in the community’ taskforce fully endorses the Prague Charter. We’re collating a toolkit of resources that maps onto the four specific charter targets of developing policy, ensuring access to essential medication, improving education and facilitating implementation through the integration of services. The latest taskforce update is now available on the EAPC website and includes more details of the work undertaken to date.
An outline of the toolkit resource is also available here and our next step is to seek opinion, from individuals and organisations with an interest in developing palliative care provision in primary care community settings, as to how the resource can be further refined to increase its utility. A brief survey is available here and we would really appreciate if you could give 10 minutes to complete this having reviewed the resource toolkit.
The following statement has been produced to frame the work of the taskforce. It highlights the great potential of palliative care in the community to allow palliative care for all in need, in keeping with the Prague Charter statement – “Palliative care: a human right”. We are excited about the taskforce meetings planned for Thursday 30th May and Saturday 1st June at the 13th World Congress of the EAPC which you are most welcome to attend.
The potential of delivering palliative care in the community
“More patients can benefit from palliative and end-of-life care if it is delivered in the community. 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.
Primary care working with palliative care specialists in the community can:
- Reach patients with all life-threatening illnesses
- Start early in the course of life-threatening disease
- Meet all dimensions of need: physical, social, psychological and spiritual
- Provide care in clinics, care homes and at home thus preventing unnecessary hospital admissions
- Support family carers and provide bereavement care.
Source: EAPC Taskforce on Palliative Care in Primary Care in the Community, 2013.
Find out more…
Click here to read all about the EAPC Taskforce: ‘Palliative care in primary care – in the community’, to view the toolkit resource and to complete the survey.
Please support the Prague Charter…
Click here to read more about the Prague Charter.
Please sign the Prague Charter petition and urge governments to relieve suffering and recognise palliative care as a human right.