Integrating early palliative care for patients with cancer: The evidence and the challenges   

Professor Eduardo Bruera, MD, FT McGraw Chair in the Treatment of Cancer, Department of Palliative, Rehabilitation, & Integrative Medicine, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, US, will discuss the evidence supporting early supportive and palliative care access for patients with cancer in a webinar on Wednesday 15th September 2021 at 4pm CET. Here, Professor Bruera gives some historical context to his presentation and a glimpse of what you can expect from the webinar. 

The webinar is the third in a series of webinars presented by the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) for EAPC members. This webinar is presented in partnership with All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) during the island of Ireland’s Palliative Care Week*.

The origins of our field with the UK hospice movement allowed patients to access care for severe physical, psychosocial and spiritual suffering associated with the end of life. Hospice set sound principles for our practice that remain valid today. The main limitation was the very late access of patients and their loved ones to this type of care, delivered mostly in inpatient hospice facilities away from acute care facilities, after the failure of primary disease-oriented treatment.

Professor Eduardo Bruera

Palliative care emerged in Canada in the form of palliative care units and inpatient consult teams, where patients were able to receive palliative care in acute care facilities. this was a major progress and allowed our discipline access to patients still receiving treatment, as well as the resources associated with other mainstream medical specialties, including research and education. Palliative care programmes provided the foundation for the development of specialties in the medical, nursing, chaplaincy, pharmacy, counselling, and other disciplines that are part of the interdisciplinary team.

One of the main limitations of inpatient palliative care was that care continued to be quite late in the trajectory of the patient’s illness. In Canada, and later in some areas of the United States, outpatient clinics started to see patients who were receiving active cancer care. These clinics were established within cancer centres in close physical proximity to medical, surgical, and radiation oncology clinics. Many studies found that patients referred to these clinics experienced multiple clinical and quality metric outcomes. However, the number of referrals continued to be limited and late in most cases. Many surveys, conducted initially in the United States and later in other countries, found that the name palliative care was a barrier to early referral by oncologists. This finding led to naming many of these clinics “supportive care” with a resulting large increase in the number, as well as earlier timing of referral.

What you can expect from the webinar… 

This presentation will discuss the evidence supporting early supportive and palliative care access for patients with cancer. The presentation will discuss the structures needed, including the importance of supportive care outpatient as compared to “embedded” clinics, the processes that should take place in these encounters, and possible outcomes of integration and culture change in institutions. Some of the unanswered questions and possible areas of future research will also be presented.

I look forward to joining you at the webinar at 4pm CET on Wednesday 15th September 2021.

Register for the webinar here

Editor’s note: This webinar has now taken place. However, if you are a member of the EAPC you can watch the recorded webinar in the Members’ Area of the EAPC website  – login with your password.


More about the EAPC webinars
The EAPC webinar series is open to all health and social care staff, academics, and researchers with an interest in palliative care, with on-demand content also available exclusively for members. Join or renew your membership here. Members of our national associations can join the EAPC for free here.

*Palliative Care Week aims to raise awareness of the difference palliative care can make to people with life-limiting conditions, carers and families throughout the island of Ireland. Working with partners and colleagues across the palliative care sector and with other organisations and individuals interested in health and well-being, All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) has facilitated an annual Palliative Care Week since 2014. Palliative Care Week will take place from Sunday 12 to Saturday 18 September 2021. AIIHPC is a national association member of EAPC.

This entry was posted in EAPC ACTIVITIES, EAPC Webinars and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Integrating early palliative care for patients with cancer: The evidence and the challenges   

  1. growpractice says:

    Thanks for sharing information about Integrating early palliative care for patients with cancer: The evidence and the challenges

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