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Palliative care included in new Standards of Care from British HIV Association (BHIVA)

30 April 2018

The British HIV Association (BHIVA) introduced new Standards of Care for people living with HIV in the UK.

The Standards, which update earlier versions in 2007 and 2013, are designed to provide a reference point against which to benchmark the quality of HIV care in the context of the changing needs of patients and the current financial pressures.

They provide information to support top quality care and to inform commissioning decisions to meet the growing need for more efficient and cost-effective services.

The new Standards are evidence based, and have been developed in partnership with care providers, professional associations, commissioners and people living with HIV.

They cover the range of care needed from diagnosis to end of life, taking a holistic view of an integrated approach embracing overall health and well-being, as well as clinical care.

There are eight quality Standards, covering the care that any adult living with HIV in the UK should expect to receive.

Each one presents a rationale, quality statements and measurable and auditable outcomes.

Three new sections have been introduced looking at HIV prevention, stigma and well-being, and HIV across the life course - young adults and adolescents, young to middle adulthood, older age and palliative care.

Professor Richard Harding of the Cicely Saunders Institute, King’s College London, who led the writing team for the new palliative care standard said: “I am delighted that BHIVA has recognised the need for palliative care as part of the comprehensive prevention, testing, treatment and care provided for people living with HIV in the UK.

“People are ageing with HIV and that is a wonderful success story – this also means that we must ensure that good care for people living with HIV includes palliative care. This is relevant for the cardiovascular disease, cancer and other complex and progressive comorbidities that are becoming the leading causes of death for people living with HIV.

“We must also be better prepared to recognise clinical uncertainty, ensuring that disease-oriented treatment is delivered and withdrawn as appropriate in the best interests of the patient, while ensuring palliative care delivered concurrently carefully addresses pain and symptom control, psychosocial support and advance care planning alongside.”

BHIVA Standards Co-Chair, Ann Sullivan, emphasised the contribution made by people living with HIV to the Standards, saying: “Patients have had a key role in every stage of the development and production of these Standards: proposing the new areas to be covered; being actively involved in all writing groups; responding to the public consultation and recommending, volunteering for and organising the real representation seen in the Standards’ imagery. We hope that these Standards will deliver improved outcomes for people living with HIV in the areas that are important to them.”

BHIVA Chair, Chloe Orkin commented: “We hope that these new Standards will provide a framework to inform and support commissioning decisions both within and outside the NHS. In addition to targeting all healthcare professionals, they are also there to inform people living with HIV, and those who advocate for them, about the care they should expect to receive when they access HIV services.”

The BHIVA Standards of Care 2018 can be accessed online. 

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