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Sundar Balasubramanian, Sue Read
International Journal of Palliative Nursing, Vol. 18, Iss. 10, 26 Oct 2012, pp 509 - 515

In the early stages of its development in the UK, palliative care focused almost exclusively on the care of patients with cancer, with efforts concentrated on relieving distressing physical symptoms in the last few weeks of life-often referred to as terminal care. It is increasingly expanding to include non-malignant conditions, but is still predominantly accessed by cancer patients. This paper presents findings from a small-scale qualitative study into nurses' experiences of providing hospice care for patients with a non-malignant diagnosis. Two focus groups were conducted with nurses in one established UK hospice. The results highlight the importance of timely educational preparation, the need for proactive thinking regarding the shifting medical profiles of health care in the UK, and the need for hospice managers to critically consider existing infrastructures (including supervision and support) in anticipation of diverse patient populations. The paper also reiterates that collaboration remains the key to effective support.

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