How can we make sure everyone receives the care they need?

23rd June 2021

Professor Richard Harding, newly appointed Director of the Cicely Saunders Institute, has written an online article for E-Hospice about the multiple challenges for patients in accessing good quality palliative care.

Professor Harding writes:

“Cicely Saunders helped us to understand the needs of patients and families through the framework of physical, psychological, social and spiritual pain. Her multidisciplinary approach was pioneering – equally valuing good medical management of pain and symptoms alongside skilled psychosocial and spiritual care and support. Cicely set the challenge of us seeing each patient as an individual, important in their own right. Much has changed in the years since she founded St Christopher’s, but the challenge remains. How can we ensure that everyone facing life-limiting and life-threatening illness receives the care they need, at the right time?” Read more

Professor Harding concludes that in the face of rising unmet need for palliative care globally, universities have a crucial role to play.

“First, they have an education function, ensuring that all health care professionals learn palliative care within their curricula, with locally relevant and up-to-date practices. There is also an urgent need for expanded access to postgraduate education in palliative care to develop leaders (in both education and practice). Second, research is needed to develop and evaluate models of care and interventions that will strengthen health systems, expanding coverage while maintaining quality across the health system.”

Professor Harding concludes that strong university departments working together internationally are key to delivering, disseminating and implementing palliative care for all.