Palliative care—the new essentials
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BACKGROUND: If global palliative care is to successfully address challenges of unequal access, continuity of care, and health services reductionism, new practice models to address these issues need to be identified, debated and tested. This paper offers one such practice model based on a public health approach to palliative care that has so far shown promising evidence of effectiveness. METHODS: We describe how four essential elements within a public health model can work together to address quality and continuity of care as well as addressing the numerous barriers of access. These elements are: (I) specialist, and (II) generalist palliative care services working with (III) communities and neighbourhoods, working in their turn with their (IV) key civic institutions. RESULTS: The positive and negative impact and advantages of each of these elements is described and discussed. CONCLUSIONS: A solely clinical model of palliative care is inadequate to addressing the multiple co-morbidities and access issues characteristic of modern palliative care. A public health approach based on a close partnership between clinical services and communities/civic institutions is the optimal practice model.
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