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Global quality indicators in palliative care

Dr Richard Harding and Professor Julia Downing spoke at the Cicely Saunders Institute recently, arguing that quality palliative care can and should be provided worldwide. 

"Reflection on what constitutes quality is challenging - as well as necessary," said Dr Harding, "a few things we can agree on without too much contention: Firstly, process measures such as coverage (as a measure of potential access to care) and availability of pain relief are essential. Second, we cannot rely on process measures alone - patient outcomes are essential. We must determine the effectiveness of care at the patient level, otherwise we risk being satisfied with policy makers, funders, advocates and clinicians reporting ‘adequate’ process measures without knowing whether this care makes a difference to patients and their families.

"It simply does not make sense to focus on processes without outcomes - we risk assuming that care is meeting its goals of improving outcomes for patients, and stopping our efforts before demonstrating that improvement."

Watch Dr Harding's talk on YouTube here.

Watch Professor Downing's talk on YouTube here.