Pain and symptom control for cancer patients at the University Hospital in Essen: integration of specialists' knowledge into routine work
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At the University Hospital of Essen, supportive care for patients with cancer and other painful diseases is carried out by an interdisciplinary ambulant pain clinic supported by a pain conference with delegates from all departments involved in the care of cancer patients as permanent members. More than 600 in- and outpatients per year are treated by this institution. This model tends to integrate supportive care into the overall therapeutic concept and routine work and to improve education in this field by bedside teaching and training of local specialists in every department. Therefore, when hospitalization becomes inevitable it is realized within the department mainly concerned with the underlying disease, where the registrar and the physician belonging to the palliative care team work closely together. Scientific research in the field of palliative care, including supportive care, is a further concern of the pain clinic. Evaluation of the model shows that the concept has been realized within a decentralized and interdisciplinary setting; it must, of course, be borne in mind that the staff of the pain control clinic are deeply committed to their work. In conclusion, the way supportive care is realized in Essen can be recommended for large hospitals, and especially for medical schools.
Key wordsPalliative care unit Education in supportive care Interdisciplinary concepts Decentralized supportive care Integration of symptom relief
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