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Gulbenkian Foundation pledge support for end-of-life care

Palliative Care

By the end of December 2010, the World questions|King’s answers campaign had raised £204m towards its £500m goal. Some of this support comes from long-standing supporters of the College, including a contribution from the Lisbon-based Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation of more than £525,000 over five years. The gift will allow King’s to research and recommend ways to improve palliative care in Portugal.

With one of the oldest populations in Europe, Portugal faces a dramatic increase in the number of people who need care during the final months of their life. Professor Jorge Soares, Director for Health at the Gulbenkian Foundation explains the need: “In 50 years time, there will be 50per cent more people dying in Portugal, many of whom will need palliative care. In order to develop these services, we need to know what models are better and more effective, and what their costs are.”

Barbara Gomes at the Cicely Saunders Institute explains the project: “Research is showing that many Portuguese would prefer to die in their own homes. The country has seven palliative care teams providing home care but many more are needed. With this project, we will find out what type of home support patients and families need and expect in Portugal, how the existing services operate and how they can be improved so more patients and families can benefit.”

The Gulbenkian Foundation’s gift will establish Gulbenkian MSc Scholarships in Palliative Care for two health care professionals working in Portugal to learn about palliative care research and practice; acquire the necessary research skills to conduct innovative research focusing on home palliative care that best supports patients and their families, and finally conduct a study on home palliative care with relevance for Portugal.

Create a Gulbenkian Clinical PhD Training Fellowship in Palliative Care for a Portuguese doctor to specialise in palliative care research and practice, acquire advanced research skills regarding home palliative care, and conduct all aspects of a study on home palliative care, involving collection of primary data in Portugal.  They will also research how other European nations provide home palliative care and develop and pilot a new optimised model for home palliative care in Portugal.

Professor Irene Higginson of the Cicely Saunders Institute said “The Gulbenkian Foundation are leading the way by investing in home care services based on the best in research, and I am delighted that we are able to be part of their plans, and help to build capacity in Portugal. The project links with our programme of work on improving home care and choice for people with advanced and terminal diseases where we have been discovering ways to improve care, what makes quality care at home and what this costs.”

Read more:

Cicely Saunders Institute of Palliative Care

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