A forthcoming special edition of Palliative Medicine will focus on integrated palliative care in the context of palliative care and end-of-life-care service delivery. Guest editors, Dr Jeroen Hasselaar, Co-ordinator, Best Practices in Integrated Palliative Care in Europe (InSup-C), Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, and Professor Sheila Payne, President of the European Association for Palliative Care, invite you to contribute a paper on this important topic.
Mr Petersen, a 63 year-old retired mine worker, suffers from advanced lung cancer. Although curative options are fairly limited, he is clutching at straws. Palliative care options are discussed during consultations with the oncologist, but it is not easy to prepare for his care. Mr Petersen believes that being labelled as ‘palliative’ will rob him of every future prospect he has. His social network, including wife and daughters, are in severe doubt because they respect his strong beliefs but also see his rapid functional decline. This leads to emotional discussions within his family. The oncologist considers whether to introduce the palliative care team for advance care planning, but the patient only accepts an informal talk with a psychologist about his coping behaviour ‘to please his wife’. Happy with this provisional solution, the physician soon discovers that the psychologist is not reimbursed by the hospital, which is another hurdle as the Petersens are not very rich. Is this integrated palliative care in practice?
Integrated care involves an approach that contributes to the quality of life of patients by ensuring a seamless and continuous care process, including professional collaboration and administrative support, organised around their needs. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of palliative care refers to integration in several ways: integration of psychological and spiritual aspects in patient care, a multidisciplinary team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, and the applicability of palliative care early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies.
Research increasingly shows that patient quality of life could benefit from an approach where palliative care and disease modifying treatment are integrated. Besides these promising findings, however, serious concerns have been raised about the implementation of so-called end-of-life pathways, some originally designed to support the patient’s dying trajectory. Innovative integrated care principles and models may be identified to stimulate palliative care integration in treatment pathways, care networks and institutional collaboration. However, there is no agreed definition of integrated (palliative) care; current initiatives are not widely known and/or under-investigated, and therefore knowledge about benefits of integrated care and barriers to implementation are badly needed.
A special edition of Palliative Medicine is in preparation to address the increasingly important topic of integrated care in the context of palliative and end-of-life care service delivery. The aim is to publish rigorous empirical original research, reviews, research methodologies or theoretical works. Guest editors are Dr Jeroen Hasselaar and Professor Sheila Payne. Papers reporting original research, reviews and clinical case studies are warmly welcomed.
Would you like to submit a paper on integrated palliative care?
If you are interested in submitting a paper for this special edition please click here for more information. Please read carefully the standard author guidelines for information about how to present and submit your papers. Deadline for submissions is 30 March 2015.
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