Challenges and perspectives of palliative medicine: A webinar by the Paediatric Virology Study Group
- Fergus Maher
- Ioannis N. Mammas
- Demetrios A. Spandidos
Affiliations: Department of Palliative Medicine, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals, NHS Foundation Trust, NR4 7UY Norwich, UK, Paediatric Clinic, Aliveri, 34500 Island of Euboea, Greece, Laboratory of Clinical Virology, Medical School, University of Crete, 71003 Heraklion, Greece
- Published online on: April 13, 2023 https://doi.org/10.3892/mi.2023.84
Copyright: © Maher
et al. This is an open access article distributed under the
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Palliative medicine focuses on the quality of life of patients with incurable conditions, who require the adequate relief of physical symptoms, adequate information to make decisions and spiritual wellbeing. Generalist palliative care is provided by family members, general practitioners, care home workers, community nurses and social care providers, as well as non‑specialist hospital doctors and nurses. Patients with more complex, physical or psycho‑social problems require the shared work of specialized doctors in palliative medicine, nurses, social workers and allied professionals. It is estimated that ~40 million patients require palliative care annually, worldwide; of these, 8 out of 10 patients reside in low‑ or middle‑income countries, and only ~14% are able to access this type of care. Palliative medicine was recognised as a distinct medical specialty in the UK in 1987, with its own specialist curriculum and training pathway, which was recently revised in 2022. The main obstacles that palliative medicine had to overcome in order to be accepted as a separate specialization were the following: i) Defining a unique body of knowledge; ii) standardisation of training; and iii) proving that it warranted being a specialty in its own right. Over the past decade, it has been accepted as more than end‑of‑life care, supporting patients with an incurable illness at much earlier stages. Given the current absence of specialized palliative care in low‑ or middle‑income countries, as well as the aging population across most European countries and the USA, it is estimated that there may be an increasing need and demand for specialists in palliative medicine in the ensuing years. This article is based on a webinar on palliative medicine, which was performed on October 20, 2022 in the context of the ‘8th Workshop of Paediatric Virology’ organized by the Institute of Paediatric Virology based on the island of Euboea (Greece).