Jeroen Hasselaar, Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and Sheila Payne, International Observatory on End of Life Care, Lancaster University, UK, are members of the Integrated Palliative Care InSup-C Consortium Management Team. The project has been investigating the best way to deliver integrated palliative care to people who have advanced cancer, heart failure or lung disease as they come towards the end of their lives.
On 30th September, a symposium on integrated palliative care took place in Brussels, organised by the European Association for Palliative Care Research Network (EAPC RN) and the European InSup-C project. Approximately 88 people attended from more than 12 countries. This blog post provides a short impression of a few of the talks for those who were not able to attend. Video recordings of the talks will be available later via the Insup-C project website.
David Currow came all the way from Australia to give the first lecture. He made an important point that palliative care as a discipline needs to have its own house in order. If we want to advocate for palliative care integration, it needs to be clear what evidence we bring to support this. Palliative care often has a positive connotation of being a social good and is largely funded in this way, but he argued for a stronger scientific evidence base to ensure that quality of care is demonstrated and accounted for.
Jeroen Hasselaar gave an overview of the InSup-C project, and the results that have been achieved through the following activities: in reviewing guidelines, in building a taxonomy, in undertaking multiple embedded case studies (where innovative integrated palliative care services were identified and data collected from patients, family carers and healthcare professionals involved in each service), and planning a massive online open course (MOOC) with 4,500 participants. His talk finished with the launch of a free book, ‘Integrated palliative care’ edited by Jeroen Hasselaar and Sheila Payne. Both the MOOC and the book can be found at the InSup-C project website.
Phil Larkin, President of the EAPC, talked about integrated care from the perspective of social justice. In particular, in resource-poor countries there is so much injustice due to lack of access to potentially curative treatments. Palliative care should not be regarded an excuse for shortcomings in acute care but, nevertheless, shortcomings in acute care can establish a need for palliative care.
Carlos Centeno presented a talk on barriers and opportunities for integrated palliative care across Europe. He saw a relationship between the developmental stage of a country and the content of barriers and opportunities identified. Wealthier European countries give more priority to integration, while less wealthy countries put more emphasis on basic development. Education seems both an important barrier when there is insufficient and a success factor for further integration.
Sean Hughes talked about the needs of patients who were living alone near the end of life (one out of three in the study) and the challenges that this presented to health and social care services in many countries. Examples of where services combined to provide integrated care in these circumstances were provided.
The Symposium also provided a platform for nine selected abstracts to be presented orally and many more as posters. The day ended with a lively debate on the merits and challenges of delivering integrated palliative care, ably chaired by Bill Noble.
Find out more . . . and download your free copy of ‘Integrated palliative care’
- InSup-C website – includes many resources to download including ‘Integrated palliative care’ and the MOOC online course.
- View the film, The Life of Death, which was shown at the symposium.
- Read more contributions from members of InSup-C on the EAPC Blog.