Planning and implementation of palliative care services: a guide for programme managers

Below are some extracts relating to information needs:

‘Patients and/or their caregivers also have information and communication needs, and often they will need help with the organization of care. It is important to determine the patient’s values and priorities as a prerequisite to formulating the best plan of care. Advance directives such as a living will or power of attorney may be useful instruments. However, in some situations, patients prefer that one or more family members receive medical information and make decisions about their care for them.’

‘The patient or surrogate(s) should be informed about available treatment options. Comprehensive information on the illness, the expected disease trajectory and treatment options should be delivered in an empathic way. This will reduce unknowns and hence reduce anxieties. The unknown may induce more anxiety than the reality.’

‘The media need to be involved in disseminating reliable information of educational value, while avoiding sensationalism.’

The guide refers to the World Health Assembly resolution WHA67.19 (2014):
“Strengthening of palliative care as a component of comprehensive care throughout the life course”

‘[…] 1. URGES Member States:5
1. to develop, strengthen and implement, where appropriate, palliative care policies to support the comprehensive strengthening of health systems to integrate evidence-based, cost-effective and equitable palliative care services in the continuum of care, across all levels, with emphasis on primary care, community and home-based care, and universal coverage schemes;
2. to ensure adequate domestic funding and allocation of human resources, as appropriate, for palliative care initiatives, including development and implementation of palliative care policies, education and training, and quality improvement initiatives, and supporting the availability and appropriate use of essential medicines, including controlled medicines for symptom management…’

Best wishes, Neil

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