Palliative care helps improve the quality of life of individuals facing life-limiting illness throughout the course of their disease. In Canada, delivery and access to palliative care has been fraught with challenges including differential availability of services based on geography, funding, language, and socioeconomic status. Many groups, including the World Health Organization, have advocated for a public health approach to palliative care as an antidote to fragmented service delivery. Multiple scholars, academics, and public health advocates have suggested that a public health approach to palliative care can help with issues of access, equity, and cost. Through the lens of Kingdon’s Multiple Streams Framework, this commentary will explore potential reasons why a public health approach to palliative care has not been adopted in the Canadian context and why this is an opportune time to consider this policy innovation. The Compassionate Communities concept is discussed as a potential solution to a public health approach to palliative care delivery.
OBJECTIVES: To estimate past trends and future projection of adult palliative care needs in Malaysia.
METHODS: This is a population-based secondary data analysis using the national mortality registry from 2004 to 2014. Past trend estimation was conducted using Murtagh's minimum and maximum methods and Gómez-Batiste's method. The estimated palliative care needs were stratified by age groups, gender and administrative states in Malaysia. With this, the projection of palliative care needs up to 2030 was conducted under the assumption that annual change remains constant.
RESULTS: The palliative care needs in Malaysia followed an apparent upward trend over the years regardless of the estimation methods. Murtagh's minimum estimation method showed that palliative care needs grew 40% from 71 675 cases in 2004 to 100 034 cases in 2014. The proportion of palliative care needs in relation to deaths hovered at 71% in the observed years. In 2030, Malaysia should anticipate the population needs to be at least 239 713 cases (240% growth from 2014), with the highest needs among age group = 80-year-old in both genders. Sarawak, Perak, Johor, Selangor and Kedah will become the top five Malaysian states with the highest number of needs in 2030.
CONCLUSION: The need for palliative care in Malaysia will continue to rise and surpass its service provision. This trend demands a stepped-up provision from the national health system with advanced integration of palliative care services to narrow the gap between needs and supply.
The lack of integration between public health approaches, cancer care and palliative and end-of-life care in the majority of health systems globally became strikingly evident in the context of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. At the same time, the collapse of the boundaries between these domains imposed by the pandemic created unique opportunities for intersectoral planning and collaboration. While the challenge of integration is not unique to oncology, the organisation of cancer care and its linkages to palliative care and to global health may allow it to be a demonstration model for how the problem of integration can be addressed. Before the pandemic, the large majority of individuals with cancer in need of palliative care in low- and middle-income countries and the poor or marginalised in high-income countries were denied access. This inequity was highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as individuals in impoverished or population-dense settings with weak health systems have been more likely to become infected and to have less access to medical care and to palliative and end-of-life care. Such inequities deserve attention by government, financial institutions and decision makers in health care. However, there has been no framework in most countries for integrated decision-making that takes into account the requirements of public health, clinical medicine and palliative and end-of-life care. Integrated planning across these domains at all levels would allow for more coordinated resource allocation and better preparedness for the inevitability of future systemic threats to population health.
BACKGROUND: General Practitioners (GPs) face challenges when providing palliative care, including an ageing, multimorbid population, and falling GP numbers. A 'public health palliative care' approach, defined as "working with communities to improve people's experience of death, dying and bereavement", is gaining momentum. 'Compassionate communities' is one example, with a focus on linking professional health carers with supportive community networks. Primary care is central to the approach, which has been incorporated into United Kingdom GP palliative care guidance. No research to date, however, has investigated GP perspectives of these approaches. Our aim, therefore, was to explore GP perceptions of a public health approach to palliative care, and compassionate communities.
METHODS: GPs working in the United Kingdom were recruited through university teaching and research networks using snowball sampling. Purposive sampling ensured wide representation of gender, level of experience and practice populations. Semi-structured, digitally audio-recorded interviews were conducted with nine GPs. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and thematic analysis was undertaken, informed by a qualitative descriptive methodology. Interviews continued until data saturation was reached.
RESULTS: Most participants were unfamiliar with the term 'compassionate communities', but recognised examples within their practice. Three major themes with seven subthemes were identified: 1) Perceived potential of compassionate communities, including: 'maximising use of existing community services'; 'influencing health outside of healthcare'; and 'combatting taboo', 2) Perceived challenges of compassionate communities, including: 'patient safety'; 'limited capacity of the community'; 'limited capacity of general practice', and 'applicability of public health to palliative care', and 3) The role of the GP in compassionate communities.
CONCLUSIONS: GPs recognised the importance of the wider community in caring for palliative care patients, however most were unfamiliar with the compassionate community approach. Participants held differing views regarding the application of the model, and the position of general practice within this. Further research into the approach's practical implementation, and exploring the views of other key stakeholders, would help establish the feasibility of compassionate communities in practice, and guide its future application.
OBJECTIVES: Hospice care (HC) is seen as a comprehensive approach, that enhances quality of end-of-life (EOL) care, for terminally ill patients. Despite its positive aspects, HC enrolment is disproportionate for rural patients, who are less likely to use HC in comparison to their urban counterparts. The purpose of this study was to explore decision-making experiences, related to utilisation of HC programmes from a retrospective perspective, with family caregivers (FCGs) in a rural US-Mexico border region.
DESIGN: This qualitative study was conducted from May 2017 to January 2018 using semistructured face to face interviews with FCGs. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.
SETTING: The HC programme was situated at a local home health agency, located in rural Southern California, USA.
PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-eight informal FCGs of patients who were actively enrolled in the HC programme agreed to participate in the study.
RESULTS: Conversation about HC as an option was initiated by home healthcare staff (39.3%), followed by physicians (32.1%). Emerging themes related to challenges in utilisation of HC and decision-making included: (1) communication barriers; (2) lack of knowledge/misperception about HC; (3) emotional difficulties, including fear of losing their patient, doubt and uncertainty about the decision, denial and (4) patients are not ready for HC. Facilitators included: (1) patient's known EOL wishes; (2) FCG-physician EOL communication; (3) the patient's deteriorating health and (4) home as the place for death.
CONCLUSIONS: HC patients' FCGs in this rural region reported a lack of knowledge or misunderstanding of HC. It is recommended that healthcare providers need to actively engage family members in patient's EOL care planning. Optimal transition to an HC programme can be facilitated when FCGs are informed and have a clear understanding about patients' medical status along with information about HC.
Objective: To engage young adults (18–35 years of age) with life-limiting neuromuscular conditions, their parents, and health and community providers in the development of a public health approach to palliative care. A public health approach protects and improves health and wellness, maximises the quality of life when health cannot be restored and improves the quality, scope and accessibility of age-appropriate care and services.
Methods: Group concept mapping (GCM) was used to determine the most important priorities for these young adults. GCM involves three district phases: (1) brainstorming ideas, (2) sorting and rating ideas based on level of importance and (3) analysing and interpreting concepts maps. Online software was used to collect information for phases 1 and 2 and develop concept maps. In phase 3, a face-to-face workshop, participants analysed and interpreted the concept maps. The combination of online and face-to-face research activities offered the needed flexibility for participants to determine when and how to participate in this research.
Results: Through this three-phase patient engagement strategy, participants generated 64 recommendations for change and determined that improvements to programming, improvements to funding and creating a continuum of care were their most important priorities. Five subthemes of these three priorities and development of the concept map are also discussed.
Conclusion: This research demonstrates the unique perspectives and experiences of these young adults and offers recommendations to improve services to enhance their health and well-being. Further, these young adults were integral in the development of recommendations for system changes to match their unique developmental needs.
Background: Communities have limited understanding of palliative care, creating barriers to informed choice around consideration of a full range of care options in the event of serious illness. Few empirically tested interventions are available to educate community about palliative care, and ultimately improve timely access to these services.
Aim: To test the acceptability (primary outcome), and feasibility of a narrative approach to public health communication seeking to improve attitudes to possible access to palliative care in the event of serious illness.
Design: Randomised phase II trial with six parallel experimental conditions. Outcomes tested included measures of acceptability, feasibility and change in attitudes to possible access to palliative care post-intervention. Contrasts planned for exploratory testing included format, message content and narrator.
Setting/participants: Community-based sample of consecutive English-speaking adults who volunteered their participation in response to a study advertisement distributed online through established community groups.
Results: A narrative approach to public health communication was found to be acceptable to community members, and feasible to deliver online. Exploratory data suggested it immediately improved attitudes towards possible access to palliative care in the event of serious illness, with the narrative detailing a description of the evidence delivered by a healthcare professional appearing to be the most promising strategy.
Conclusions: This study provides preliminary data to inform a future, longitudinal trial evaluating effectiveness and ultimately other evidence-based, public health approaches to improve community engagement with palliative care. Further studies are required to confirm the generalisability of findings to a broader representative sample and other settings including internationally.
L'ancien ministre de la Santé propose une réflexion sur l'avenir de la médecine et notamment l'impact de l'intelligence artificielle, de la biotechnologie, des neurosciences, des capteurs connectés ou des impressions de tissus en 3D.
Frailty has recently emerged as a dominant concept against a backdrop of media and governmental narratives that frame the growing ageing population as an economic threat to the current configuration of health care in the United Kingdom (UK). Despite frailty's popularity amongst geriatricians and policy makers, the concept faces resistance from other health-care professionals and older people themselves. This paper draws on the Foucauldian idea of biopower; by suggesting that the contemporary emergence and utilisation of frailty represents a biopolitical practice a number or critical observations are made. First, despite biomedical experts acknowledging ambiguities in the definition of frailty, the concept is presented as a truth discourse. This is driven by the ability of frailty measurements to predict risk of costly adverse outcomes; the capability of frailty scores to enumerate complex needs; and the scientific legitimacy frailty affords to geriatric medicine. Consequently, frailty has become pervasive, knowable and measurable. Second, the routine delineation between frail and robust objectifies older people, and can be said to benefit those making the diagnosis over those being labelled frail, with the latter becoming disempowered. Last, studies show that frailty is associated with increasing wealth inequalities in the UK; however, experts’ suggested management of frailty shifts the focus of responsibility away from ideologically driven structural inequalities towards the frail older person, attempting to encourage individuals to modify lifestyle choices. This neglects the association between lifestyle opportunities and socio-economic deprivation, and the impact of long-term poverty on health. These observations, set against the contemporary political climate of economic austerity, cuts to public services and rationalisation of health resources, bring the urgency of a critical consideration of frailty to the fore.
The field of palliative care (PC) has spent the past decade demonstrating that it improves outcomes for patients, clinicians, and health systems. Forward-thinking organizations preparing for a reimbursement system rooted in value have built robust inpatient PC programs and are rapidly moving toward the outpatient and community settings as well. As PC programs get larger and are increasingly tasked with leading a wide variety of diverse initiatives, population health principles can help to focus programs on high-value activities. This article, written by population health researchers and PC clinicians, seeks to provide PC teams nationally with a variety of population health strategies and tools to guide PC delivery throughout the health system and beyond.
Background: In 2014, the World Health Assembly (WHA) approved the Resolution "Strengthening of palliative care as a component of comprehensive care throughout the life course" (WHA67.19), urging national governments to carry out actions to develop palliative care.
Objective: To establish the origins and assess the influence and early impact of this Resolution.
Methods: Semistructured interviews conducted with key informants (n = 20). A thematic content analysis was conducted and triangulated on the transcriptions.
Results: The collaborative work done by Non-State Actors, palliative care associations, individuals, Member States, and the World Health Organization (WHO) itself was crucial to the drafting and the approval of WHA67.19. Several post-Resolution actions undertaken by the WHO were highlighted (e.g., appointment of a dedicated officer and the creation of advisory working groups) and its role was identified as a key element in the implementation. Inadequate funding, lack of resources, and cultural factors were the most relevant barriers to implementation. The wide network of NGOs and palliative care associations was identified as the main facilitator. The key identified impact of the Resolution was its value as an advocacy tool and its contribution to raising awareness about palliative care around the world.
Conclusions: Despite the lack of indicators to monitor the implementation of Resolution WHA67.19, key experts evaluate its effects in the short term as positive. Policy potential and its use in championing palliative care are its main early successes. The role of Non-State Actors, the WHO, and Member States working together is crucial to achieving its goals.
OBJECTIVES: Palliative care services have, up to now, paid insufficient attention to social aspects of dying and bereavement and this has affected how patients and their families experience end of life and bereavement within their communities. New public health approaches to palliative care offer a different way forward by seeking to develop communities that support death and bereavement. Such approaches are now a priority for the majority of hospices in the UK and work with schools has been identified as a key area of work. Practice that engages schools and children on issues concerning end-of-life care is, however, underdeveloped and underdocumented. This research explored the role of hospices in working with schools to promote education and support around end-of-life and bereavement experiences.
METHODS: Action research was used to explore the potential for hospices to work with schools and engage participants in change processes. The research was conducted in 1 hospice and 2 primary schools in Scotland. Participants included children, parents and school and hospice staff.
RESULTS: Seven innovations were identified that were found to be useful for the school curriculum and the relationship between hospices, school communities and wider society. A model for integrated practice between hospices and schools is suggested.
CONCLUSIONS: This research adds to knowledge about how hospices might engage in community engagement activities that encourage school staff to develop greater openness and support around end-of-life and bereavement care for their children. This will require a rethinking of normal hospice services to also participate in community capacity building.
Our choice for care at the end of our lives is constrained by many factors, including the options available to us, our capacity to choose and the social structures that constrain our options and therefore our choices. Working with the interaction between personal agency and social constraints is a core public health activity. An intentional public health approach to palliative and end-of-life care can elucidate the direct relationship between our social circumstances and the quality of our end of life and uncover the implications of structural inequity for end-of-life choice. The approach reorients systems and settings to achieve accessible and equitable palliative and end of-life care for all, and identifies contributions that all jurisdictions, settings, organisations, sectors and communities can make to improving end-of-life care outcomes. Frameworks that support this shift in practice and policy are however in their infancy. Implementation frameworks that can structure and guide ‘how’ to translate public health palliative care concepts into sustainable practice are needed. This paper reports on an evidence-based Australian public health palliative care framework designed to achieve this.
Depuis le début des années 2000, les soins palliatifs se sont considérablement développés au Québec et ailleurs dans le monde. Toutefois, avec les bouleversements démographiques qui transforment le paysage social de la plupart des pays occidentaux, le modèle actuel des soins palliatifs modernes pourrait être insuffisant pour faire face aux besoins grandissants de la population vieillissante. L'objectif de cet article est d'offrir un aperçu d'une vision complémentaire aux soins palliatifs modernes : le modèle des Communautés compatissantes. Développée par Allan Kellehear dans les années 2000, l'approche des Communautés compatissantes conçoit la fin de vie en tant qu'enjeu de santé publique, s'inspire de la promotion de la santé et propose un modèle sociocommunautaire aux soins de fin de vie. Dans cet article, les principaux fondements de l'approche des Communautés compatissantes seront présentés et illustrés par des exemples internationaux et locaux. Les défis et l'avenir de cette approche seront également évoqués.
BACKGROUND: Global annual deaths are rising. It is essential to examine where future deaths may occur to facilitate decisions regarding future service provision and resource allocation.
AIMS: To project where people will die from 2017 to 2040 in an ageing country with advanced integrated palliative care, and to prioritise recommendations based on these trends.
METHODS: Population-based trend analysis of place of death for people that died in Scotland (2004-2016) and projections using simple linear modelling (2017-2040); Transparent Expert Consultation to prioritise recommendations in response to projections.
RESULTS: Deaths are projected to increase by 15.9% from 56,728 in 2016 (32.8% aged 85+ years) to 65,757 deaths in 2040 (45% aged 85+ years). Between 2004 and 2016, proportions of home and care home deaths increased (19.8-23.4% and 14.5-18.8%), while the proportion of hospital deaths declined (58.0-50.1%). If current trends continue, the numbers of deaths at home and in care homes will increase, and two-thirds will die outside hospital by 2040. To sustain current trends, priorities include: 1) to increase and upskill a community health and social care workforce through education, training and valuing of care work; 2) to build community care capacity through informal carer support and community engagement; 3) to stimulate a realistic public debate on death, dying and sustainable funding.
CONCLUSION: To sustain current trends, health and social care provision in the community needs to grow to support nearly 60% more people at the end-of-life by 2040; otherwise hospital deaths will increase.
OBJECTIVES: (1) To develop an understanding of how social capital may be conceptualised within the context of end-of-life care and how it can influence outcomes for people with dementia and their families with specific reference to the context and mechanisms that explain observed outcomes. (2) To produce guidance for healthcare systems and researchers to better structure and design a public health approach to end-of-life care for people with dementia.
DESIGN: A realist review.
DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and grey literature.
ANALYSIS: We conceptualised social capital as a complex intervention and, in order to understand how change is generated, used realist evaluation methods to create different configurations of context, mechanism and outcomes. We conducted an iterative search focusing on social capital, social networks and end-of-life care in dementia. All study designs and outcomes were screened and analysed to elicit explanations for a range of outcomes identified. Explanations were consolidated into an overarching programme theory that drew on substantive theory from the social sciences and a public health approach to palliative care.
RESULTS: We identified 118 articles from 16 countries ranging from 1992 to 2018. A total of 40 context-mechanism-outcome configurations help explain how social capital may influence end-of-life care for people with dementia. Such influence was identified within five key areas. These included: (1) socially orientating a person with dementia following diagnosis; (2) transitions in the physical environment of care; (3) how the caregiving experience is viewed by those directly involved with it; (4) transition of a person with dementia into the fourth age; (5) the decision making processes underpinning such processes.
CONCLUSION: This review contributes to the dispassionate understanding of how complex systems such as community and social capital might be viewed as a tool to improve end-of-life care for people with dementia.
INTRODUCTION: Palliative care is a clinically and cost-effective component of cancer services in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Despite the significant need for palliative cancer care in SSA, coverage remains inadequate. The exploration of digital health approaches could support increases in the quality and reach of palliative cancer care services in SSA. However, there is currently a lack of any theoretical underpinning or data to understand stakeholder drivers for digital health components in this context. This project addresses this gap through engaging with key stakeholders to determine data and information needs that could be supported through digital health interventions.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This is a multicountry, cross-sectional, qualitative study conducted in Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe. In-depth interviews will be conducted in patients with advanced cancer (n=20), caregivers (n=15), health professionals (n=20) and policy-makers (n=10) in each of the three participating countries. Data from a total of 195 interviews will transcribed verbatim and translated into English before being imported into NVivo software for deductive framework analysis. The analysis will seek to understand the acceptability and define mechanisms of patient-level data capture and usage via digital technologies.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics approvals have been obtained from the Institutional Review Boards of University of Leeds (Ref: MREC 18-032), Research Council of Zimbabwe (Ref: 03507), Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe (Ref: MRCZ/A/2421), Uganda Cancer Institute (Ref: 19-2018), Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (Ref: HS325ES) and College of Medicine University of Lagos (Ref: HREC/15/04/2015). The project seeks to determine optimal mechanisms for the design and development of subsequent digital health interventions to support development, access to, and delivery of palliative cancer care in SSA. Dissemination of these findings will occur through newsletters and press releases, conference presentations, peer-reviewed journals and social media.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN15727711.
Asbestos-related diseases (ARDs) are incurable but entirely preventable. Due to India's continuing use of asbestos, ARD patients will increase to a high number in the next three to four decades. This will increase the burden on palliative care system which is in nascent stage presently. Palliative care is the mainstay of the management of ARDs. Unfortunately, the burden on palliative care is likely to increase due to multiple factors contributed by India's demographic and economic changes. In the near future, there will be at least 12.5 million ARD patients and 1.25 million asbestos-related cancer patients worldwide, and half of these will be in India. It is high time to introspect about our ability to engage with this future problem. The paper also discusses the organization of this future problem of ARDs and possible action points toward future access to palliative care for ARD patients.
Au travers de six futurs fictionnels, construits par sous-détermination, des spécialistes de diverses disciplines s'interrogent sur le champ des possibles dans le domaine de la santé, par-delà les seuls aspects technologiques et organisationnels, ainsi que sur les enjeux éthiques que soulèvent ces perspectives.