Dr David Oliver, Chair of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) Task Force on Neurology and EAPC Board Member.
How do we improve the care of people with progressive neurological disease, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease? One way to make a change has been to work with neurologists to agree guidelines on palliative care. We came one step nearer to this in May when a consensus review on palliative care in neurology, produced by the EAPC Neurology Task Force, was presented at the Joint Congress of the European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS) and the European Society of Neurology, held in May in Istanbul.
I presented the palliative care consensus document within a highlighted session of the congress for new guidelines. It was a real privilege to be able to present the work of the Neurology Task Force to neurologists at this congress. We have been working together with the EFNS for more than five years and the guidelines are now nearly complete. More than 100 people were at the session, which was especially highlighted within the programme and this does show that palliative care is now seen to be an important part of the care of patients with neurological disease. I am very grateful to all the task force members for their hard work in completing this important piece of work. There was a good response to the session and the final draft of the document is now being prepared for publication in The European Journal of Neurology – the official publication of the EFNS.
I have had a special interest in the care of people with neurological disease for more than 32 years and I have seen a real change over this time. Neurologists are now actively involved in the ongoing care of their patients and palliative care is more widely appreciated. However there are differences across Europe and these guidelines should enable increased discussion between all involved in patient care so that we can all work together to improve the quality of life of patients with neurological disease.
Links and resources…
- Click here for information about the EAPC Task Force on Neurology and Palliative Care.
- Oliver D, Borasio GD, Johnston W. (eds). Palliative Care in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: From diagnosis to bereavement 4th edition. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press; 2014.
- Oliver D (ed). Motor Neurone Disease – a Family Affair 3rd edition. London: Sheldon; 2011.
- Oliver D (ed). End of Life Care in Neurological Disease. London: Springer; 2012.
About the author…
David Oliver has worked for more than 36 years in palliative care developing a special interest in neurological palliative care. He recently retired from full-time work as consultant at the Wisdom Hospice in Rochester in Kent but continues to work part time, both within the hospice and as Reader at the University of Kent. He is also a Board member of the EAPC. (Professor Gian Domenico Borasio has written about David’s contribution to neurological palliative care on the EAPC Blog).