[Providing regular relief; considerations for palliative care in the Netherlands]
SourceNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 145, 42, (2001), pp. 2011-2014
Article / Letter to editor
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Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
SubjectControl Systems in Anaesthesiology; General Practice; Sturingssystemen in de anesthesiologie
Over the last few decades the attention devoted to the palliative aspects of medicine, particularly those in hospital care, has declined due to the emphasis on medical technology. In Anglo-Saxon countries a review of this development resulted in structured palliative care that benefited terminally ill patients with a progressive fatal disease, especially cancer patients. Due to increasing national and international criticism of both the practice of euthanasia (assumed to be too liberal) and the lack of attention devoted to structured palliative care in the Netherlands, the Dutch government decided to improve the structure of palliative care. The government's viewpoint is based on the assumption that good palliative care that includes adequate pain control benefits patient care and might eventually lead to fewer requests for euthanasia. The improvements to palliative care should be realised by means of improvements in the structure, training and knowledge. Six academic medical clusters have been designated as Centres for the Development of Palliative Care (Dutch acronym: COPZ) for a 5-year period. Each COPZ must develop the various aspects needed to improve palliative care within the region it serves and ensure that its activities are carefully coordinated with those in the other centres. Research will focus on measuring the efficacy of palliative care as well as ethical and epidemiological aspects. A government committee will assess the appropriateness of the activities undertaken by each of the centres.
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