Optimizing palliative care – it’s not just physical

Scott Murray, MD, FRCGP, FRCP Edin from the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, discusses the talk he gave on different features of palliative care at the European Cancer Congress of the European Cancer Organisation (ECCO) 2017 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He highlights three important aspects. Firstly, palliative care needs should be identified as early as possible, starting at diagnosis, and services should be available within the community. Secondly, an assessment of the patient’s well-being should be made, including not just physical, but also psychosocial, social and existential issues the patient may be experiencing. Thirdly, a plan should be made together with the patient, considering their needs and goals, particularly determining what they want to do but may not be able to do. Prof. Murray points out that asking patients how they are feeling, not just physically but holistically, can improve the patient experience in a palliative care setting.
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