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Dr Matthew Maddocks and Dr Clare Ellis-Smith visit the Danish Embassy

Dr Matthew Maddocks and Dr Clare Ellis-Smith visited the Danish Embassy last month to meet with a delegate of Danish ministers to discuss current evidence around palliative care and hospice provision.

The discussion was wide-ranging but focused on models of palliative care delivery for a growing ageing population living with multiple chronic diseases. The group shared findings of a recent rapid review of service delivery models for older people at the end of life, integrated models of palliative care for patients with breathlessness, and a newly-completed study on patient-led goal setting. Dr Ellis-Smith then briefed the ministers on the work on outcome measurement conducted at the Cicely Saunders Institute, which includes the Palliative care Outcome Scale (POS) and Integrated Palliative care Outcome Scale (IPOS). It was agreed use of outcome measures in routine care could support provision of person-centred care through enabling comprehensive assessment of symptoms and concerns.

 The Minister for Senior Citizens asked about the care for people with dementia towards the end of life, loneliness, and care home settings. Dr Ellis-Smith shared her work on the IPOS for Dementia (IPOS-Dem) which aims to support person-centred comprehensive assessment, and integrated working in the care of people with dementia. The need for interventions that aim to skill the workforce to provide palliative care was highlighted. The ministers then asked for three key recommendations in the provision of palliative care for older adults. Drs Maddocks and Ellis-Smith highlighted:

  • The important role of allied health professionals and the potential value they add to patients’ care, especially when bridging between geriatric and palliative care services.
  • Short term integrated models of palliative care: this is a model that is deliverable to a growing population of people with palliative care needs.
  • The need to evaluate before and as clinical innovation takes place, to ensure services are modelled and continually adapted.