Meet the Team: Peter
I have a special interest in supporting this study.
My wife Wendy died aged 54 from a glioblastoma less than five months after diagnosis, despite the standard treatment of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I have two relevant observations.
Firstly, we were never told that this cancer could be terminal – it always is.
Secondly, the end-of-life support was a mix of non-existent and poor care – despite the obvious fact that there is only one chance to get this right. For example, we were left without diamorphine, without insulin (for diabetes caused by the chemotherapy) and pain relief/dressings for pressure ulcers caused by the extended high dose of dexamethasone.
The first time that there was any suggestion that we were in a terminal situation was after Wendy’s admission to A&E three days before Christmas with pneumonia (caused by the chemotherapy). This led to nine days of intravenous antibiotics in the ITU. After her discharge, we had a coded telephone message from a hospital consultant, ‘I suggest you get some hospice care set up’.
Wendy died in our home two weeks later.
We should be able to, and must, do better than this!
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Existing evidence shows that integrating palliative care and cancer care could improve quality of life for patients and their caregivers, at the same time as reducing the costs to the health services. This evidence has motivated us to carry out the current research project – Integrating Palliative Care and Oncology (IPCO) – so that this potential can be realised in practice…