The English End of Life Care Strategy identifies that palliative care in England is still largely regarded as “an optional extra”, and that the NHS relies heavily upon charities, including hospices, to deliver specialist palliative care. Delivery of an effective and efficient high quality palliative care service continues to be a challenge. Following our own extensive stakeholder engagement, our community partners have identified that finding a way to provide high quality, yet affordable, palliative care in the community is of key importance to them.
The Palliative and end of life care Priority Setting Partnership has recently published a report drawn from extensive public and practitioner engagement, identifying high priority research questions regarding the delivery of palliative care. Some of the top ten questions identified include:
1. What are the best ways of providing palliative care outside of working hours to avoid crises and help patients to stay in their place of choice;
2. How can access to palliative care services be improved for everyone regardless of where they are in the UK;
3. How can it be ensured that staff, including healthcare assistants, are adequately trained to deliver palliative care, no matter where the care is being delivered; and
4. What are the benefits, and best ways, of providing care in the patient’s home and how can home care be maintained as long as possible.