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Ministry of Health:
palliative care

In 2014 I was invited to take up palliative care policy. Palliative care is often associated with pain relief when people are dying. I learnt that this form of care is much
broader than that and includes a focus on quality of life. It has a physical medical dimension, but also a psychological, social (e.g. family issues) and spiritual (coping with end of life) dimension.

It also starts much earlier than I thought: as soon as people know that they have a disease that cannot be cured or simply when the end of their lifes is approaching.

I was asked to set up a national programme to improve palliative care focussing on awareness, organisation, quality and patient involvement. I also initiated the national website overpalliativezorg.nl (about palliative care).

And we worked together in a very stimulating new way. This was done with a so called ‘practice team’ (including a nurse and a case manager) to address complaints and questions related to organsation and financing of palliative care.
I also wrote a number of
policy letters to the parliament for the minister. The last one was called: “Focus on palliative care”  (in Dutch).