In our view, it is the right of every person with a life-threatening illness to receive appropriate palliative care - care which integrates physical and psycho-social care. Whether or not they do so depends on the availability of resources as well as professional skills and attitudes. It is the responsibility of every health care professional to provide palliative care, calling in specialist colleagues if the need arises, as an integral component of good clinical practice.
What is to be done? John Hoyland acknowledges that hospices would have provided a "supportive, loving and cheerful environment" not found in the hospitals that cared for his stepfather. The growing number of palliative care teams in acute hospitals provides another solution - but only if their role is understood and they are asked to help.
National Council for Hospice and Specialist Palliative Care Services
London WC1Reuse content