The European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) Taskforce on Palliative Care in Long-term Care Settings for Older People has now completed its work in mapping the different ways of developing palliative care in long-term care settings across Europe.
Jo Hockley, Katharina Heimerl and Deborah Parker are co-authors of an article that is published in the September issue of the European Journal of Palliative Care summarising the work of the Taskforce, its methods and some of its key findings. Here they explain what they personally gained from their membership of the Taskforce and share some key learning points.
Jo Hockley, Nurse Consultant (Care Homes), St Christopher’s Hospice, London, UK
Over the period of working with the task force my own personal work with care homes has expanded in many ways. I think a major insight that I have had as a result of working with the Taskforce has been the importance of what we can learn from each other across the European countries about the care of frail older people living/dying in care homes. Being open to learn how other people do things can enhance our own work – and we are the richer for the experience. I think we do not do this enough and often work within our own silos. Care homes themselves are often working in silos too – they need to build greater relationships with external groups that can help care home staff to give high quality end of life care.
Katharina Heimerl, Associate Professor, IFF – Palliative Care and Organisational Ethics, University of Klagenfurt in Vienna, Austria:
In the past 15 years the issue of palliative care has gained increasing attention in nursing homes, not only in Austria but also in the entire German-speaking realm. The first projects to implement palliative care occurred in the mid ‘90s of the last century; today large foundations such as the German Robert-Bosch Stiftung, or national bodies such as the Austrian Hospice Movement, dedicate entire programmes to the issue. The field of long-term care has become the initiator of innovations in hospice and palliative care in general. It is time to ask, what types of innovations have been carried out and what drives change in this field? In our global world local initiatives must be related to the broader European context. From the work of the Taskforce I have learnt the following important insight: palliative care in nursing home needs multiprofessional and multidimensional projects that address not only staff and residents but also the wider system on a national and international level.
Deborah Parker, Associate Professor and Director, Blue Care Research and Practice Development Centre, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
It has been a great pleasure for me to take part in the EAPC Taskforce on Long-Term Care Settings and to be able to understand the complexities of providing palliative care across the different European countries. It is heartening to know that many of the complexities we face in Australia – skill mix, access to appropriate financial support, specialist palliative care services and general practitioners exist across many European countries. Of particular interest for me is to look at the model of the nursing home doctor that seems to work well in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, there is no support for even a trial of this level of training and care in Australia. It has been useful as well to look at the impact that the United Kingdom’s End of Life Care Strategy has had in care homes and how some of the elements of this program have informed my own research in Australia.
To find out more…
- The full article to which this post relates, ‘Palliative Care in Long-term Care Settings for Older People: findings from an EAPC Taskforce’ by Elisabeth Reitinger, Katherine Froggatt, Kevin Brazil, Katharina Heimerl, Jo Hockley, Roland Kunz, Hazel Morbey, Deborah Parker and Bettina S Husebo, is published in the September/October 2013 issue of the European Journal of Palliative Care (vol. 20.5).
- EAPC members and registered users of the EAPC website can download a free copy of this article and other EAPC-originated papers published in the journal. Visit the EAPC home page and scroll down to download the article. You may need to login or register (free of charge) in the right-hand corner of home page.
- View more information about the Taskforce on the EAPC website.