'What we need to see is a step-change in the way policy-makers and clinicians across Europe look at end-of-life care, and ensure that people's priorities and needs inform planning and delivery of these services. Together with an increased investment in scientific research into end-of-life care, this will really make a difference to the quality of people's lives as they face their last weeks and days.'
The PRISMA group is calling for a change in the way all health care professionals working with patients with advanced diseases measure things which are important to patients and their families. Currently, the focus is on physical tests such as x-rays, scans and monitoring bloods. But PRISMA warns that, although important, these routine tests may miss the effects of the illness on the person and their family. A move towards assessment of symptoms, psychological, social and spiritual needs is urgently required in order to ensure an adequate response to patient and family priorities.
PRISMA compared the survey results with the views of nearly 800 clinicians working in end-of-life care and recommended a five-pronged approach to tackle: symptom control; emotional well-being; family support; choice for where to be cared for; and information needs.
Professor Stein Kaasa, a member of PRISMA, Professor of Palliative Medicine and an oncologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology said: 'It is now the responsibility of all clinicians working with patients with life-threatening diseases such as advanced cancer, to measure and lead others to measure the outcomes of their work against what matters to patients, so they know they are on the right track to pro
|Contact: Katherine Barnes|
King's College London