WHO Publishes Palliative Care Factsheet

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a factsheet on Palliative Care.

The factsheet defines palliative care as: “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients (adults and children) and their families who are facing problems associated with life-threatening illness. It prevents and relieves suffering through the early identification, correct assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, whether physical, psychosocial or spiritual.”

It includes:

  • key palliative care facts
  • notes on poor access and barriers to receiving palliative care
  • advice on what countries can do to address these barriers; and
  • the WHO response.

Dr Stephen Connor, Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance Senior Fellow, said: “For the first time, WHO has added palliative care to it’s family of factsheets. The lack of a general description of and clearly explained information resource about palliative care on the WHO website has now been rectified.

“The factsheet is a useful general resource on palliative care that demonstrates WHO’s support for palliative care. In the coming months and years, WHO intends to add many more published resources on palliative care – including guidance on policy, clinical palliative care, and operations – to encourage countries to develop palliative care as part of the continuum of care throughout the world.”

Children are included in the Fact Sheet. It states that for children, 98% of those needing palliative care live in low- and middle-income countries with almost half of them living in Africa. At the end of the Fact sheet, a paragraph on WHO’s work to strengthen palliative care includes promoting increased access to palliative care for children in collaboration with UNICEF.

Access the factsheet on the WHO website.

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