Rehabilitative Palliative Care offers a refreshing public health approach to meet the challenges of an ageing population, living with chronic disease and disability.
The focus of Rehabilitative Palliative Care on early, proactive intervention, reduction of avoidable decline in function, self-management, nonpharmacological symptom control and constructive coping strategies for patients and families, not only has benefit implications at an individual level for those in the last years of life but also at a population level. Rehabilitative Palliative Care has the potential to help avoid unnecessary hospital admissions, reduce the need for domiciliary social care and care home placement, and to offer an alternative to overburdened GP practices where patients whose primary complaints of increasing disability, frailty and fatigue have little to be gained through medical management.
Forward thinking commissioners and leaders of hospice and health and social care will recognise Rehabilitative Palliative Care as a vehicle to optimise wellbeing of people in the last years of life, with an essential contribution to make to integrated care and cost efficiencies across the system.
I personally have been convinced by the Rehabilitative Palliative Care approach and believe it must be part of the future offer; not just for patients with advanced illness receiving hospice services but to optimise health and wellbeing of all those in the last years of life, benefitting both our local communities and the wider health economy.