Dr Emilio Herrera is President of NewHealth Foundation, a non-profit organization aimed at promoting a new integrated health and social care model through the development of palliative care programmes in Spain and Latin America. Here, he explains the work that led to his receiving this year’s European Palliative Care Journal (EJPC) Palliative Care Development Award.
“In the context of the new paradigm of people-centred integrated care models, it’s time for palliative care to become the demonstrative example of how to involve excellent palliative care services with social services and the community.”
I emphasised this idea when I received the EJPC 2015 Palliative Care Development Award, intending to underline the enormous opportunity and responsibility for palliative care, to become the model for the new paradigm of healthcare services.
To achieve this demonstrative role, palliative care should recover part of its conceptual base: palliative care is more than just provision of healthcare services.
The development of true, integrated palliative care should be linked to two essential elements:
- The perfect coordination of health and social services in end-of-life care.1
- The involvement of society through awareness and training of community-led caring networks. 2
These priorities will require much more than just reinforcing domestic services and stimulating volunteer plans to help people at the end of life. We need to highlight the real importance of social services and the priorities of social values, favouring the growth of compassionate communities.
These principles will bring more efficiency and sustainability to our bankrupted healthcare systems, more accessibility, more equitable services, and a fairer and more engaged society with the care of the most vulnerable.
It’s vital to change the present ‘business model’ of healthcare and social care services. ‘Compassion’ is the value that should be promoted to transform the healthcare model.
A very important part of the global solution to the unsustainability of healthcare systems lies in the acceptance that wellbeing and health are much more than the provision of healthcare services.
Given the widespread severe budgetary situation in which our health systems are immersed, we have to decide: are we (palliative care people) just another fleeting hope that will finally end infected by ego, or are we really the main part of the new solution to emulate?
Links and references
1. WHO global strategy on people-centred and integrated health services.
2. Interview with Dr Emilio Herrera in the European Journal of Palliative Care (free to download from EAPC website).
Herrera E. Big compassionate eyes; we go back to the future. Med Paliat. 2015;22(3):81-83.
Herrera E. Hacia el nuevo paradigma: la atención integrada. Actas de la dependencia, nº 12. Noviembre 2014. Fundación Caser.
Nuño R. Integrated end of life care: the role of social services. International Journal of Integrated Care 2014; 14: 1.
Herrera E, Nuño R, Espiadau G, Librada S, Hasson N, Orueta JF. Impact of a home-based social welfare program on care for palliative patients in the Basque Country (SAIATU Program). BMC Palliative Care 2013, 12:3.
- View ‘Bill’s story’, exploring the role of friends and neighbours in supporting someone who is seriously ill and their family. Compassionate Communities, Milford Care Centre. View the English version. View the Spanish version.
EJPC Palliative Care Development Award 2016 – nominations form now online.
Do you know someone who has made a major contribution to palliative care policy development? Why not nominate them for the EJPC Palliative Care Policy Development Award? Launched by the European Journal of Palliative Care in collaboration with the European Association for Palliative Care, the award is aimed at professionals working in palliative care worldwide who have made a substantial contribution to policy development through research, clinical practice or as policy activists. Deadline for applications: 31 March 2016.