Specialist palliative care services are provided by an interdisciplinary team of specialist palliative care professionals whose substantive work is with patients who have an eventually fatal condition.
Specialist palliative care services are provided in care settings including community, home, hospitals, aged care homes and hospices and palliative care units.
Specialist palliative care services work in three key ways:
- Providing direct care to referred patients with complex needs
- Providing consultation based services to patients being cared for by primary care providers
- Providing support and education to services providing end of life care
A specialist palliative care provider is a medical, nursing or allied health professional recognized as a palliative care specialist by an accrediting body or who substantively works in a specialist palliative care service if an accrediting body is not available.
He/she has the specialist knowledge skills and expertise in care of people living with an eventually fatal condition and their families and carers, including in the management of complex symptoms, loss, grief and bereavement.
Specialist palliative care describes services whose main activity is the provision of palliative care. These services generally care for patients with complex and difficult needs and therefore require a higher level of education, staff and other resources.
Specialist palliative care is provided by specialized services for patients with complex problems not adequately covered by other treatment options.
All patients with progressive incurable diseases should have access to specialist palliative care services, which address proactively all the symptoms of their condition and the effect these symptoms have on them and their families/ careers. Patients with complex palliative care needs require a wide range of therapeutic interventions for symptom control. The relevant specialist palliative care services must have access to the necessary level of trained staff to safely manage these interventions.
Specialist palliative care services require a team approach, combining a multi professional team with an interdisciplinary mode of work.
Team members must be highly qualified and should have their main focus of work in palliative care
Radbruch L, Payne S and the Board of Directors of the EAPC. EAPC update. White Paper on standards and norms for hospice and palliative care in Europe: part 1. European Journal of Palliative Care, 2009; 16(6)