#Physiotalk on Palliative care – Monday 2nd June

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. (WHO)

The WHO statement goes on to say that palliative care:

  • provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms;
  • integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
  • offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
  • offers a support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and in their own bereavement;
  • uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counselling, if indicated;
  • will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness;

Increasingly physiotherapists are becoming part of the multidisciplinary team providing a palliative care approach in a range of settings and the #physiotalk on 2nd June (8pm BST) will explore the role of physiotherapists within palliative care teams.



The Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Oncology and Palliative care says that rehabilitation is now recognised as an essential part of the clinical pathway, as earlier diagnosis and new treatments are enabling patients to live longer. It is generally accepted that patients should have access to an appropriate level of rehabilitation, so that they can function at a minimum level of dependency and optimise their quality of life, regardless of their life expectancy. By working as a part of a multi-disciplinary team, the Physiotherapist’s core skills can help people adapt to their changing condition.

Before the chat on Monday 2nd June at 8pm (BST) you may like to consider the following questions:

  1. Palliative rehabilitation: is this an oxymoron? Can someone in the palliative phase of their illness benefit from rehabilitation?
  2. What might the physiotherapist be able to offer a patient in the palliative phase of their illness?
  3. What communication skills training have you been able to access?
  4. Was palliative care covered as a topic in your undergraduate education? If so, did it prepare you adequately for your involvement in the care of palliative patients?
  5. Do you feel you have been trained, prepared and supported to cope with the existential and emotional issues raised by patients and within yourself when working with palliative patients?

Pre-chat information:

ACPOPC website

ACPOPC leaflet – ‘So your patient has cancer’

Macmillan Cancer Support

Marie Curie Cancer Care

European Association for Palliative Care: EAPC taskforce on education for physiotherapists in palliative care

The EAPC research congress is taking place from 5th June and you can access the conference abstracts here (scroll to bottom of page for pdf – you may need to sign in using Athens password) and search for those concerned with physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Access is free until 30th June if you register here

Thank you to the experts who have helped us develop the questions and will be providing some of the expertise around palliative care during the chat:





Post chat information

It was another busy night for #physiotalk! It seemed like there were a few people joining in for the first time – welcome!

327 224 Impressions

422 Tweets

57 participants

The transcript is now available here

There were quite a few links posted during the Tweetchat – here are most of them for reading at your leisure

Sage and Thyme

The impact of the SAGE & THYME foundation level workshop on factors influencing communication skills in health care professionals.

Blog on end of life care

NICE guidance on End of life care


Links to papers

Imminence of death among hospital inpatients: Prevalent cohort study

Physical exercise for Cancer Patients with Advanced disease

Improving muscle mass and function in Cachexia

Passing Away: An Exploratory Study into Physiotherapy Students’ Experiences of Patient Death whilst on Clinical Placement

Evaluation of an interprofessional practice placement in a UK in-patient palliative care unit

Challenges of uncertainty and interprofessional collaboration

Exploring access to rehabilitation services from allied health professionals 

Read More: http://journals.heacademy.ac.uk/doi/abs/10.11120/pblh.2014.00026

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