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Key reports

NICE Guidance on Supportive and Palliative Cancer Care

A major evidence review for the National Institute of Clinical Excellence for patients with cancer in England and Wales

Dr Marjolein Gysels

Research Fellow

Professor Irene Higginson
Head of Department


The Department of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation is collaborating with the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery on the development of the Guidance on Supportive and Palliative Care for Patients with Cancer in England and Wales, which is funded by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence.

The Guidance forms a central part of the supportive care strategy announced as part of the National Cancer Plan. This Guidance both complements and extends the site-specific guidance published as part of the Improving Outcomes series (e.g. in relation to breast, lung, colorectal, gynaecological and upper gastrointestinal cancers).

Under the management of Irene J. Higginson, the Evidence Review Manual has been launched. This contains the evidence of effectiveness underpinning the comprehensive set of recommendations for action at national and local level, developed in the Guidance Manual. The Guidance does not focus on issues related to clinical care but on the configuration of services, how they are designed and delivered.

The Research Evidence Manual comprises systematic literature reviews covering twelve different topics, as each of these contribute to the holistic understanding of palliative care:

  • Co-ordination of care
  • User involvement in planning, delivering and evaluating services
  • Face-to-face communication
  • Information
  • Psychological support
  • Social support services
  • Spiritual support services
  • General palliative care services, incorporating care of dying patients
  • Specialist palliative care services
  • Specialist palliative day therapy services
  • Rehabilitation services: Complementary therapy services
  • Care for families and carers, including bereavement care

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