Robert Bals
Palliative care has developed in the last decades. While many of
its concepts have been part of respiratory medicine for a long
time, the concept of structured palliation for patients with lung
diseases is still evolving. The term “palliative care” describes a
multidisciplinary approach to offer relief to patients with severe
diseases for which causal therapy is limited. Historically,
palliative care in its basic form has always been a part of
medicine, but many of its aspects have taken a back seat due to
the development of technical medicine at the beginning of the
20th century. Modern palliative care has been linked to the
hospice movement, an important root of which can be seen in
the St Christopher’s Hospice, founded by Cicely Saunders in
London in 1967. In the last decades, the field has undergone
many developments in its methods and structures.
While the primary focus of palliative care has been on patients
with cancer, this view has widened and palliation is seen today
to be an integral part of the care of patients with many other
diseases. In fact, numerous lung diseases currently cannot be
cured and progress to a stage where symptom load drastically
reduces the quality of life of the patient. While most respiratory
physicians deal with aspects of palliation every day, palliative
medicine is rarely integrated in a systematic curriculum for
medical students or residents. In addition, palliative care as part
of a structured programme is in many cases only available at
more specialised centres.
This ERS Monograph focuses on palliative care for patients with
lung diseases. The first section covers general items, such as
definitions, epidemiology and access structures. The second
section provides detailed information on individual symptoms
and care in special settings, such as in low-resource settings, and
the third section focuses on care of the dying.
The Guest Editors, Claudia Bausewein, David C. Currow and
Miriam J. Johnson, have worked very successfully to select these
Copyright ©ERS 2016. Print ISBN: 978-1-84984-071-2. Online ISBN: 978-1-84984-072-9. Print ISSN: 2312-508X. Online ISSN: 2312-5098.
ERS Monogr 2016; 73: v–vi. DOI: 10.1183/2312508X.10014216 v
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