This film, produced by the NCPC in partnership with NHS England, is a resource to provide advice and guidance to empower people with any long term condition or advanced disease, and their family members and carers to prepare for their consultations with clinicians. The film explains “palliative care” and the benefits that this can provide.
We know how important it is that care reflects the views and preferences of the individual (1). However when living with a long term condition or advanced disease, people can be faced with having to digest a lot of important information within a healthcare system that can be difficult to navigate. It is vital that people understand their options, feel confident to ask questions and make informed choices about which treatments to consider for their condition as well as for their symptoms, quality of life and wellbeing.
In developing the film, we consulted with people who have personal experience of palliative care, either individually or as a carer. The quote below highlights what can happen when we are not informed about our choices:
“in the first weeks of my wife’s last illness her pain was uncontrollable. Fortunately our GP explained about the aims and objectives of Palliative Care – until then we knew nothing about hospices or palliative medicine”
Palliative care is an approach to care that improves the quality of life of people and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual (2).
Palliative care can be provided by those who provide your usual healthcare, such as GPs, district nurses and hospital consultants, alongside specialist palliative care teams.
Palliative care is:
Dr Sarah Mitchell
GP, Northfield Health Centre, Birmingham NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow, Warwick Medical School Generalist Lead for Palliative and End of Life Care, West Midlands Clinical Networks and Clinical Senate, NHS England - West Midlands
Community Involvement Manager
National Council for Palliative Care / Dying Matters
The People in Partnership Group
National Council for Palliative Care /Dying Matters31 January 2017