Published on: May 25, 2012

In a project which included the participation of individuals and representatives of pain and palliative care organizations, the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) recently developed a list of essential practices in palliative care.

Under the framework of the “essential” concept, the IAHPC decided to work in different projects aimed to identify the “essential” components for palliative care. This list of Essential Practices follows the IAHPC List of Essential Medicines in Palliative Care developed in 2007 and the Opioid Essential Prescription Package developed in 2011.

The list of essential practices in palliative care for health workers working in primary care includes those practices aimed at meeting the most prevalent physical, social, psychological and spiritual needs of palliative care patients and their families.

To work on this proposal, IAHPC formed a working group which included board members of IAHPC and external advisors from the field. The working group developed a plan of action and methodology which included a Delphi process among 425 health practitioners, primary care providers, and palliative care experts from 63 different countries around the globe, and a ranking survey with representatives from 45 international palliative care and pain relief organizations.

The IAHPC List of Essential Practices includes 23 practices with different levels of intervention under the following domains of care:

  • Physical Care
  • Psychological/Emotional/Spiritual Care
  • Care Planning and Coordination
  • Communication Issues.

The IAHPC List of Essential Practices in Palliative Care may help define appropriate primary palliative care and improve the quality of care delivered globally. IAHPC will focus future projects on the evaluation of their uptake and impact in the quality of lives of patients and their families.

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