by Prof. David Oliver, EAN Scientific Panel on Palliative Care
The EAN Scientific Panel on Palliative Care has been considering the collaboration between neurology and palliative care, particular in the care of people with progressive neurological disease. One area of collaboration has been in education and influencing the curriculum development of both palliative medicine and neurology to increase the collaboration in patient care.
At the end of 2021 an online survey was undertaken to obtain further information as to the development of palliative care services and education, and availability for neurologists across Europe. The survey was sent to the EAN Scientific Panel members and they were also asked to send on to other contacts, in their own or other countries. The survey was approved and coordinated by the EAN.
21 responses were received from 13 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Italy (8), Moldova, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Switzerland, UK (2).
19 (90%) were consultants – 12 (57%) with 5 years of appointment
2 (10%) were neurologists in training
Recognition of palliative care in the country
As a speciality in its own right 13 (62%)
Palliative care education for
Medical students 15 (71%)
Newly qualified doctors 6 (29%)
Trainees in neurology 7 (33%)
Continuing medical education 9 (43%)
Opportunities for trainees in neurology
Hospice / specialist palliative care unit Rotation 2 (10%) Placement 6 (29%)
Home care team Rotation 4 (19%) Placement 4 (19%)
Hospital team Rotation 7 (33%) Placement 7 (33%)
Palliative care courses
Continuing medical education 19 (90%)
Masters courses 16 (76%)
Doctorates 6 (29%)
- Palliative care is established in many, but not all, countries.
- Education in palliative care for newly qualified doctors and neurology trainees is limited.
- Rotations or placements with specialist palliative care for neurology trainees are limited.
- Continuing medical education is available, but may depend on local initiatives and the self-recognition of this need.
- Overall, there is a need to develop the curriculum and opportunities for neurologists to learn more about palliative care.