Treating elderly people with terminal illness and substance issues

Posted on May 20, 2016 by Addiction Editor

DSC00642With a rapidly ageing population and increasing longevity there is a study gap for how best to treat the issue of elderly people who are suffering a terminal illness and are using alcohol and other drugs.

We spoke with Professor Sarah Galvani, Professor of Adult Social Care, Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK who is principal investigator of the project who said;

“We are inviting substance abuse agencies who have experience with terminal or life limiting conditions and issues with substance abuse to take part in the study.

We are seeing many cases in the UK of people entering hospices who want to have a drink or have previous history of heroin use”.

The study, supported by the UK National Lottery fund could be a world first and Professor Sarah Galvani has been speaking with Professor Ann Roche of Flinders University to be a potential Australian partner in the international study.

The problematic use of substances is linked to many forms of chronic and life threatening conditions and with an ageing population it is predicted that this will increase and place escalating demands on the end of life and palliative care services as well as on friends and family.

Sarah will be speaking today at the Australia and New Zealand Addiction Conference  on ‘Supporting social workers to ‘do’ substance use work – a review of the evidence’.

If you have personal or professional experience and would be willing to share what you do when you have terminal conditions and substance abuse combines you can express your interest by contacting Sarah at


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