Focus on the patient: applying the essentials of palliative care
Attending the 17th European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC) Congress last month (October 2021) was a welcome reconnection with the global palliative care community after the unprecedented events of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the congress was held virtually, the presentations, discussions and posters all communicated similar core messages about what COVID-19 has taught us in palliative care provision. They were informative, looking at both healthcare professionals' and patients' experiences during the pandemic. They offered powerful and challenging discourse for everyone present to reflect on their contribution to patient care and the delivery of palliative and end-of-life care to all who needed it. Of importance was the honest fact that COVID-19 had ‘forced’ us to acknowledge a simple truth: that we need to care for each other, rich or poor, black or white, employed or not, living in developed countries or developing countries. COVID-19 showed no discrimination in its assault on everyone's health and wellbeing. Indeed, some groups in society, like black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, were disproportionately affected by the virus, but people from all walks of life were affected, and hundreds of thousands died and continue to die as a result of the infection. The other truth was that whenever COVID-19 affected one person, its impact was felt much more widely and across services.
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