Ensuring Home-Based Palliative Care at the End-of-Life: Supporting Family Carers to Manage Anticipatory Medication

Project Details


In 2019, around 124.000 Portuguese citizens were in need of palliative care (PC). Only 13% had access to specialized PC. Most of them only received PC within the last days or weeks of life. Patients at the end-of-life (eol) often experience uncontrolled and distressing symptoms, are under-medicated and do have adequate relief.

Managing symptoms is a shared goal for patients, family carers, and health professionals. To meet the needs of patients approaching the end of their lives who wish to be cared for at home, anticipatory prescribing (AP) has been promoted to optimise symptom control and prevent crisis hospital admissions. Family members provide much of the care that enables people to live and die at home as their illness progresses. Clinicians have to make ethico-clinical decisions to promote effective interventions that meet ethical principles and values.

Despite its relevance and implementation in clinical practice, anticipatory prescribing practices are currently based on an inadequate evidence base. Research is therefore very much needed on this highly relevant issue. Project EnSupCare aimed to fill this gap.

EnSupCare was designed to answer the following research question: What are the current practices, frameworks, and attitudes towards anticipatory prescribing in home palliative care at the end of life and is this an effective and cost-effective practice?

A mixed-methods approach was developed within five entwined work packages. Results from the project were presented in various international scientific events.
Effective start/end date28/05/1931/05/22

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • Empirical bioethics
  • Clinical decision-making
  • Anticipatory prescribing
  • Palliative care
  • End-of-life care
  • Outcomes research
  • Cost-effectiveness analysis


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.