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Centre of Expertise Palliative Care, Leiden University Medical Centre

History

In the 18th century, in the very first teaching hospital in the Caeciliagasthuis in Leiden professors, such as the famous Herman Boerhaave, gave bedside lectures. Several times, patients and professors moved to larger and better-furnished premises, and in 1873 the first university hospital to be built as such opened its doors. The new hospital on the Rijnsburgerweg, built in the early 1920s on the basis of the pavilion system, made way in the 1980s and 1990s for the present modern hospital.

The many years of collaboration between the university and the teaching hospital acquired greater permanence in 1996 when the hospital and medical faculty merged to form Leiden University Medical Center, with patient care, research, patient instruction, study programme, and continuing education as its five core tasks.

Profile

In November 2011, within the now LUMC, the Palliative Care Team started as part of the new academic Expert Centre for Palliative Care. The Expert Centre focuses on continuous education of health care professionals, on consultation and support of patients, their carers, and their treating physicians and on conducting palliative scientific research.

The Expert Centre is situated within the department of Clinical Oncology, but has its working field within the LUMC as a whole, including consultation on other wards with medical specialties taking care of patients with non-cancer incurable diseases, such as pulmonary, cardiac or neurological diseases. Its clinical palliative consultation team houses a core of three dedicated nurses, five specialised physicians, a psycho-oncologic social worker, and a specialised spiritual care worker.

Specialties

The Expert centre strongly advocates pro-active palliative care planning, with a strong trans mural focus in order to improve integrated total care for patients with incurable diseases.

Palliative and supportive care

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The palliative care team members visit the patients at the different wards, or, if necessary, patients and carers may also visit the outpatient clinic facilities. For a time-out, when patients or carers are in palliative crises, or, for end-of-life care, when death is expected within up to three months, the team has strong ties with the adjacent hospice within the city of Leiden.

There is a close collaboration with the Palliative Network in the area, including general practitioners and other first and second line palliative health care professionals.

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