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Rethinking Care Toward the End of Life

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Rethinking Care Toward the End of Life
Salzburg Questions Twitter series on health and palliative care begins
Salzburg Questions Twitter series on health and palliative care begins
Eighth Salzburg Question to be launched ahead of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day
Eighth Salzburg Question to be launched ahead of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day
Fifth Salzburg Question launches on World Refugee Day
Fifth Salzburg Question launches on World Refugee Day
Fourth Salzburg Question looks at emotional and financial toll of losing a loved one
Fourth Salzburg Question looks at emotional and financial toll of losing a loved one
Salzburg Question - How have you prepared for your death?
Salzburg Question - How have you prepared for your death?
Twitter reacts to Salzburg Question series on end of life care
Twitter reacts to Salzburg Question series on end of life care
Sixth Salzburg Question launches on World Population Day
Sixth Salzburg Question launches on World Population Day
Seventh Salzburg Question looks at whether health care professionals deliver care they would want
Seventh Salzburg Question looks at whether health care professionals deliver care they would want
Second Salzburg Question on palliative care asks whether "dying well" is important as "living well"
Second Salzburg Question on palliative care asks whether "dying well" is important as "living well"
Bruce Chernof - When the time comes to tell our story, what will we see?
Bruce Chernof - When the time comes to tell our story, what will we see?
Dr Stephen Connor - Do you know how to access palliative care when you need it?
Dr Stephen Connor - Do you know how to access palliative care when you need it?
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SALZBURG QUESTIONS

Irene Higginson - What future research is needed to improve care for people with advanced illness & towards the end of life

Salzburg Global Fellow explores the ninth Salzburg Question

As part of the Salzburg Questions Twitter campaign, people were asked: What future research is needed to improve care for people with advanced illness & towards the end of life?

Irene Higginson | 10.11.2017

This article first appeared on the EAPC blog, which will continue to publish more posts on the Salzburg Question series. It refers to the ninth Salzburg Question: What future research is needed to improve care for people with advanced illness & towards the end of life. Irene Higginson, Professor of Palliative Care & Policy and Director of the Cicely Saunders Institute, King’s College London, explains why research is so important, and what people can do to support it.

Palliative care puts the person before the disease. (View our video here). Our role is to look after the whole person and those close to them, and this means assessing and offering the very best in therapies, treatment and care, to help people live well despite their illness as well as controlling symptoms at the end of life. The person-centred approach does not mean that we have it right yet; it should mean striving to improve what we do.

As a doctor trained dually in palliative medicine and public health medicine, I have long been concerned that the treatments, therapies and services that we can offer patients and families need to improve. In the future, I want to be providing patients and families with better treatments, therapies and care, especially in the hard to manage areas.

Research needs to test and discover better treatments for the many complex physical problems and symptoms that people have, such as breathlessness, fatigue, frailty, pain and nausea, as well as for emotional, social and spiritual issues. There is a need for research into better ways to support those who currently miss out on the best in palliative care, especially those groups that form part of growing populations (such as older people with multiple morbidity) who are most likely to require palliative care in the future. We also need to be realistic. Health and social care resources are constrained in many countries, so we need research into solutions that are cost-effective. Research into better services is also vital, as services are a key component to influencing quality of life for people.

Those close to the patient often provide so much, and research into ways to support them is urgently needed. We work closely with our Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) group, whose feedback and insights enable us to steer our research according to the needs and concerns of the people who will directly benefit from advances in palliative care practice and provision. Pam Smith, one of our PPI members, describes her reasons for becoming involved in the work of the Institute:

“Without ongoing research into palliative care, the lives of the people suffering from advanced illness, and also the lives of their carers, will never be improved. A compassionate society cares about the people who live in it!”

Scientific discovery takes time to progress. Palliative care has had some major successes over the years, but now we need to be thinking about what people will need in five to ten years’ time, and what research, investment, workforce and capacity are required to deliver this. So with this #allmylifeQs, I am asking all of you who read this to speak to four other people today about why you think that research is important, and what you can do to support it.

10.11.2017 Category: HEALTH, SALZBURG IN THE WORLD, SALZBURG UPDATES
Irene Higginson