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Establishing palliative care organization and delivery worldwide

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Credit: Lancaster University

Emeritus Professor Sheila Payne and Dr Sean Hughes from Lancaster University in the UK have both contributed towards a new book 'Building Integrated Palliative Care Programmes and Services' published by the World Health Organization Palliative Care Initiative.

The book was launched at the 15th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care and provides the latest information on palliative care organisation and delivery, with expert contributors drawing on examples from around the world.

Professor Payne was a member of the WHO Technical Advisory Group supporting the Initiative and she led the writing of the chapter on Psychosocial Aspects of Palliative Care.

She said: "We are delighted to contribute a chapter on psychosocial palliative care in an important new international book designed to help countries implement better palliative care services."

Lack of access to palliative care and pain relief is a global public health crisis. Every year 40 million people, their families and carers need palliative care, yet only about 3 million are able to access the care they need. The majority of these are adults over 60 but 6% are children.

The WHO defines palliative care as: 'An approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing problems associated with life threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial, and spiritual'.

In 2014, the World Health Assembly (the governing body of WHO) passed the resolution: Strengthening of palliative care as a component of comprehensive care throughout the life course, calling on all governments to ensure that palliative care is integrated into their national healthcare systems.

This book is a guide to designing, implementing, and evaluating palliative care programmes and services, moving a focus on integrating palliative care into mainstream healthcare systems. It includes the latest definitional, organisational, and clinical aspects of palliative care, and is a great resource for countries wanting to begin or to build palliative care.

Dr Stephen R. Connor, Executive Director of the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance and co-editor of the book, said: "Palliative care is too often organised outside mainstream healthcare. If we are to meet the enormous challenges of delivering care to the 40 million worldwide who need it annually we need to imbed palliative care into existing primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare, especially in low and middle income countries where nearly 80% of the need for palliative care exists."

Dr Xavier Gómez-Batiste, MD PhD, Director WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health Palliative Care Programmes (WHOCC-ICO), Catalan Institute of Oncology and co-editor of the book, said: "This manual not only describes the essentials of palliative care, but also the innovative strategies and actions to design and implement comprehensive programs and services integrated into health systems."

The authors recommend that the book is used by policy makers and practitioners to improve palliative care service delivery for people accessing care and their families.

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The book: 'Building Integrated Palliative Care Programmes and Services' can be downloaded from the Resources section of the WHPCA website.

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http://www.thewhpca.org/resources/category/building-integrated-palliative-care-programs-and-services

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