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Practical Tips on Integrating Palliative Care 

Practical Tips on Integrating Palliative Care
Chapter:
Practical Tips on Integrating Palliative Care
Author(s):

Brett Sutton

and Joan Marston

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190066529.003.0003
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date: 28 March 2020

Palliative care has, historically, largely been absent or deprioritized in humanitarian emergencies. There is now increasing recognition of the need for it to be an integral part of any humanitarian response and, equally, for its integration to be routine across the many dimensions of a response. Such integration requires an understanding of the core principles and practice of humanitarian responses, and the structures of local, regional, and international agencies and their teams. The Sphere standards, now incorporating palliative care, comprise the fundamental standards and guidelines for humanitarian responses; they should provide key guidance for palliative care practitioners and organizations. Equally, the cluster system provides a structure for coordination of all the sectors in emergencies, and palliative care must be provided within this structure when it is in place for humanitarian events, whether acute or protracted. One core principle that humanitarian action increasingly incorporates is that of localization, whereby the response must recognize and respect local leadership and decision-making. This is equally true with emergency medical teams (EMTs), even when deploying internationally, because local responses have been overwhelmed. Finally, integration must incorporate all components of a robust palliative care response, including policy and guidance; community, primary, and specialist practitioners; training and mentorship; equipment, medication, and infrastructure appropriate for palliative care; and a referral system that uses both local and national structures.

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