Based on a conference organised by the Royal College of Physicians in 1995, and published with financial support from Marie Curie Cancer Care
The growth in specialist palliative services and the recognition of a medical specialty provide evidence that the principles and practice of such services are both accepted by the professions and government and are needed by the public.
Paramount among the aims of specialist palliative care, 70% of which is in the voluntary sector, is that patients who are terminally ill should be seen as members of a family and their families as part of the community. The last days, weeks or months of their lives should be as worthy of attention as any other part. This patient-centred approach to care acknowledges issues of control and choice and seeks to bring together health professionals involved into a multi-skilled team with shared objectives.
The principles of palliative care, which are also relevant to the whole fabric of clinical care especially in the management of severe prolonged terminal disease, are particularly important at a time when care may be in danger of being mechanistic and technology orientated.
The conference on which this book is based emphasised the management of terminal care for patients with non-malignant disease and showed how the research and skills, now so highly developed for late-stage cancer, can be transferred to other incurable diseases, whatever the diagnosis.
Copies available on request.