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There is urgency to develop palliative care services for elderly patients, experts say. For this reason, the Vice-President of the European Parliament Gianni Pittella, in collaboration with the Maruzza Lefebvre Foundation, promoted a first ever dialogue between palliative medicine and geriatrics at EU level. The event took place at the European Parliament in Brussels on 25 September 2012.
At this occasion, the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC Onlus) and the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society (EUGMS) unveiled a joint manifesto promoting a European action plan on palliative care and geriatrics. The objective was to improve the quality of life of elderly patients with chronic diseases and cut back on health care costs by up to 60 per cent. Its ultimate scope was to insert geriatric palliative care in the EU agenda, in the hope of it becoming a human right one day.
John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, and Mario Mauro, Head of Delegation of the Pdl to the European Parliament both intervened during the event, which was embedded into the framework of the European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity.
The Maruzza Lefebvre Foundation tackled the issue of urgency of a dialogue between palliative medicine and geriatrics by bringing together policy makers, palliative care experts and geriatricians. It is the first time that dialogue between the two medical disciplines happens at an EU level. The manifesto, unveiled on the day of the event, developed in cooperation with EAPC Onlus and EUGMS, represents the first concrete step towards an EU legislation on palliative care.
The manifesto calls upon European Governments and EU Institutions to ensure that every older citizen with chronic diseases, especially at an advanced stage, is offered the best possible palliative care approach wherever they are cared for. This could be achieved by:
1. Recognizing that older people with chronic diseases have the right to the best possible palliative care approach.
2. Promoting public awareness.
3. Promoting a collaborative effort between geriatric and palliative medicine.
4. Investing in education.
5. Investing in research.
6. Establishing an EU platform for the exchange, comparison and benchmarking of best practices between member states.