"The quality of life of at least 100 million people would have improved if today’s knowledge of palliative care was accessible to everyone." --Jan Stjernsward, MD, PhD, FRCP (Edin), Kathleen M. Foley, MD, and Frank D. Ferris, MD
The above statement is from the article "The Public Health Strategy for Palliative Care" [J Pain Symptom Manage. 2007 May;33(5):486-93. PubMed].
Palliative life care is NOT "a multi-disciplinary area of medicine" since less than 1% of the supportive staff actually has sufficient education and competency in this most vital area. In fact, most healthcare workers (HCWs) don't even have a clue what palliative care is, and many confuse it with end-of-life care (EoLC). Moreover, most HCWs also equate hospice with "giving up." Because of this paradox, palliative life care is either absent in most patient care areas, or it is provided in a haphazard fashion. Once all staff attain sufficient competency in palliative life care, it will then actually be the multi-disciplinary aspect of medicine that can serve the vast majority of patients seen by all health care workers.
Mandatory palliative life care certification of all health care workers will provide patients in every health care setting the ability to get competent palliative life care--no matter the clinician they encounter. All physicians and nurses could easily become certified and skilled in providing palliative life care and, there is actually a big desire amongst all health care workers to get official certification. No special ward is needed for palliative life care delivery, just staff that is educated and competent in palliative care. It is well established in the medical literature that palliative life care does provide a much better quality and duration of life, as well as being much more cost effective.
The inconvenient truth is that palliative life care certification for all health care workers' is needed--ASAP! Like global warming, this is an inconvenient truth because it will require substantial initial cost and widespread cooperation from authorities in government and health care organizations to become fully implemented. This measure will likely cause a shift away from the costly waste of over-treatment of these patients with heroic care, into a much more cost effective and humane system of comprehensive palliative life care. There will also be much more funding for studying these patients in a palliative life care setting rather than using them to study aggressive curative care innovations. But the truth is that neither heroic care nor palliative life care can be provided effectively unless all involved staff are competent in administering the care. Historically, only heroic care has been a requirement for health care staff, although palliative life care is just as essential. That is, millions of health care workers in the USA (and millions more in other countries) have become certified in advanced cardiac life support practice. The same certification can easily be accomplished with palliative life care.
This website provides clear and convincing evidence of the urgent need for palliative life care, as well as the tremendous burden that has existed for millions of patients--each day--as a result of there being essentially no palliative life care competency amongst health care workers. The statements provided herein are only a very small sample of what has been published by countless medical experts and scholars throughout the world.
There are hundreds of millions of people throughout the world, at any given time, which are living with a life-limiting condition that could benefit enormously from palliative life care. Besides cancer, examples of these people are those with HIV and AIDS, progressive heart, kidney, lung, liver and neurological diseases (including dementia), all of which have a substantial morbidity and high mortality. The current health care system essentially only recognizes cancer as a life-limiting condition. The overall design of health care in the United States and the rest of the world is essentially only curative and heroic in nature, which results in inappropriate care (mistreatment) upon millions of patients with life-limiting conditions. This design also adds substantial extra overall cost to healthcare. Like traditional medicine specialists, the world also needs an abundant (equal) supply of palliativeologists and hospiceologists.
The primary content in this website is numerous statements made in recent published articles by medical experts and scholars working in various disciplines. These are statements made by physicians and others who have been practicing and studying clinical medicine for decades. Their work provides what is referred to as "evidence-based medicine." It is evidence-based medicine that becomes adopted into clinical practice, since it shows clear and convincing proof of being the safest and most effective method (and more cost effective).
The term "palliative life care" or "palliative life medicine," rather than simply "palliative care," is used in this website as the term to associate the practice of palliative medicine since it preserves life and optimizes the quality of life for those with a life-limiting diagnosis.
Palliative life care must become a basic human right for all people!
- Contact e-mail: Michael Hahn, BS RT