The editorial highlights the fact that the current lack of curative treatments means that most patients eventually die with, and often from, their disease or injury. However, many do not receive palliative care, or only do so at the very end of their lives.
“Palliative care should be available to all patients with a chronic progressive illness whenever it would alleviate suffering, and should go beyond use of drugs to manage symptoms to include practical and emotional support,” the editor writes.
The article mentions recent progress in increasing awareness of palliative and end of life needs in neurology – such as the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s recommendations on palliative and end of life care after stroke and an article (also in this issue of The Lancet Neurology) about the challenges of end of life decisions after serious brain injuries.
It references the inadequate provision of palliative care in many parts of teh world, as reported in the Global Atlas of Palliative Care at the End of Life.
Read the full editorial: ‘Palliative and end of life care should not be last or least‘ in The Lancet Neurology, Volume 13, Issue 5, Page 439, May 2014.