Bioethics Blogs

2014 European Declaration on Palliative Care

Last month, policymakers and stakeholders in the field of palliative care and long-term care came together at a conference held in Brussels aiming at presenting the results of two EU-funded projects IMPACT and EURO IMPACT and developing a set of recommendations for policy, practice and research.

The conference identified some main areas of improvement to be taken into account for further action. One concrete outcome of the conference was the following “Declaration on Palliative Care.”

2014 European Declaration on Palliative Care

“Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and treatment of other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual” [World Health Organization].

Palliative care is required from early in the disease course, can be delivered alongside potentially curative treatment, and continues to include end-of-life or terminal care.

Calling upon policy and decision makers at regional, national and international level to:

1.  Recognise that the delivery of and access to high quality palliative care is a public health priority which requires a public health approach.

2.  Develop or redraft national and international health care policies, such as policies on healthy ageing, long-term care and dementia, to include palliative care as an essential component.
3.  Develop or redraft palliative care-specific policies to include referral criteria that allow patients and their family timely access to palliative care consistent with their level of need, regardless of diagnosis, age, prognosis, estimated life expectancy or care setting.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.