The International Hospice and Palliative Care Day draws attention to the unique and wonderful vocation of hospice and palliative care providers around the world.

13 Oct 2014

By Katherine Irene Pettus, PhD, Policy Officer, International Association of Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC)

The purpose of International Hospice and Palliative Care Day, like all the other “days’ identifying vulnerable populations or causes to celebrate, is to draw attention to the unique and wonderful vocation of hospice and palliative care providers around the world.  Not only do communities need to support those who take care of the most vulnerable now, communities need to train more of them, so family members, friends, and neighbours etc. are taken care of in the future. The demographic shift toward ageing societies, which is taking place throughout the world, the increasing number of people suffering from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and almost global lack of access to pain medicine, has made hospice and palliative care an urgent policy priority.  

Palliative care is not just for the dying, nor is it just for cancer patients.  It is a healthcare approach that serves people who are seriously ill, as well as their caregivers.  It can be given at home or in the hospital. Government or private insurance should cover it.  Palliative care is a holistic approach to life-threatening illness that aims to add quality of life, and provide wrap around services when patients and families are attempting curative treatments, as well as when curative treatments are no longer beneficial.  Palliative care teams should address physical symptoms as well as psychosocial or spiritual problems.  

Palliative care requires access to medicines that will relieve acute physical and emotional pain and symptoms, medicines that are tightly restricted by drug control laws and in many countries. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 80% of the world’s people live in countries where per capita consumption of medicines for pain and palliative care is “low to inadequate”.  That means that people suffering from advanced cancer, AIDS, and other types of serious illness have limited access to any painkillers stronger than aspirin.

Read here the full article.

For more information, see the World Hospice and Palliative Care day website for more information about World Day.

Share this on: