Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is responsible for 2.9 million deaths every year globally and is the third most common cause of death. While palliative care has traditionally been focused on cancer patients, it also offers potential for patients with diseases such as COPD. Despite the potential benefits, timely implementation of palliative care in non-cancer settings in the EU is constrained by factors such as limited access to services, a lack of patient involvement in decision-making and insufficient training of healthcare providers.
Under the leadership of VUB professors Koen Pardon and Luc Deliens, the EU PAL-COPD project brings together a diverse consortium of experts in the fields of medical, palliative and respiratory care, sociology, psychology, healthcare services, economy and communication. The objective is to integrate palliative care in the treatment of advanced COPD in various European healthcare systems. Supported by renowned institutions such as the European Respiratory Society and the European Association for Palliative Care, EU PAL-COPD could significantly improve emotional support and information for COPD patients and their families, offering hope for those affected by advanced COPD.
“We are very happy that the EU has released this budget to take this project from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel to seven countries. With it, we want to improve the quality of life of patients with advanced COPD and their families,” says Professor Koen Pardon. Prof Luc Deliens adds: “It’s our belief that this integrated approach will set new standards in how we deal with COPD in our healthcare systems.”
EU PAL-COPD aims to improve palliative care for advanced COPD patients through the innovative ICLEAR-EU service model. This non-pharmacological approach emphasises patient and family-centred care, including pre-care planning and shared decision-making. The researchers will carry out a pioneering clinical trial in 18 hospitals in six European countries, integrating palliative care into pulmonary medicine on a large scale. It will include the patient’s perspective from the beginning of the process.
The European Commission’s Horizon Europe programme has granted €7.55 million to 13 organisation in seven countries for the EU PAL-COPD project. It began on 1 January 2024 and aims to improve the well-being of millions of COPD patients and their families.