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Europe-wide survey reveals priorities for end-of-life care
Date:3/23/2011

A survey of over 9,000 people in seven different countries across Europe has shown that the majority would want to improve the quality of life in the time they had left, rather than extend it. The survey reveals attitudes across Europe for dealing with serious illnesses such as cancer, and issues raised when caring for a close friend of relative in the last few months of life. The research was carried out as part of an EU-funded project led by researchers from King's College London.

The telephone survey of 9,339 people was carried out to explore attitudes to end of life care in seven European countries: Germany, England, the Netherlands, Belgium (Flanders), Portugal, Spain and Italy. The survey showed that 71% of people said they would want to improve quality of life for the time they had left; 4% would like to extend life; and 25% said both quality and extending life was equally important. Across all countries in the survey, 'being in pain' was the symptom or problem that was of most concern, followed by 'being a burden to others'

The results of the survey will be discussed by policy makers, research funders and experts in palliative care on Thursday in Brussels at a symposium held by PRISMA a consortium of experts from nine European and African countries, led by King's College London. The PRISMA group says greater attention must be paid to quality of life alongside potentially life-prolonging treatments, as the survey shows quality of life is important to people, often more so than extending it.

A group of leading researchers and clinicians, led by Professor Irene Higginson OBE at King's College London, will call for delivery of end-of-life care across Europe to be reviewed in the light of the results, and investment in research increased, in order to meet people's needs more effectively at the end of their lives.

Professor Irene Higginson OBE, scientific lead of PRISMA and Professor of Palliative Care and Policy at K
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Contact: Katherine Barnes
katherine.barnes@kcl.ac.uk
44-207-848-3076
King's College London
Source:Eurekalert

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