The quality of death — Ranking end-of-life care across the world

Today is International Hospice Palliative Care Day.

A fascinating report published in 2010 ranked 40 countries on how they provide end-of-life care. Nations were scored in four categories including the end of life health care environment, available of end of life care, cost of the care and quality of the experience. Canada ranked 9th overall.

The report is actually a very interesting read. The report provides a global overview of palliative care including cultural, legal, economic and policy issues.

More than 100m people would benefit from hospice and palliative care annually (including family and carers who need help and assistance in caring), less than 8% of those
in need access it. (Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance)
Few nations, including rich ones with cutting-edge healthcare systems, incorporate palliative care strategies into their overall healthcare policy—despite the fact that in many of these countries, increasing longevity and ageing populations mean demand for end-of-life care is likely to rise sharply.
Globally, training for palliative care is rarely included in healthcare education curricula.
The availability of painkilling drugs—the most basic issue in the minimization of suffering—is woefully inadequate across much of the world, often because of concerns about illicit use and trafficking. The result of this state of affairs is an incalculable surfeit of suffering, not just for those about to die, but also for their loved ones.
Clearly, the deeper inclusion of palliative care into broader health policy, and the improvement of standards of end-of-life

care—raising the “quality of death”—will also yield significant gains for humanity’s quality of life.

The zest behind any report is the stories, what does this mean where the “rubber hits the road”. There are  inspiring examples of countries and communities that are doing remarkable work.

The tiny state of Kerala in India, with only 3% of India’s population, provides two-thirds of India’s palliative care services.

If you want to be informed on global issues and inspired on a personal level – have a read.

A few of the Life and Death Matters international students

A few of the Life and Death Matters online students from Nepal – Usha, Sabita and Mina

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