Palliative is care for patients with life-threatening illnesses and their families and can be done by many types of health professionals and volunteers. The WHO has released an infographic on the importance of implementing the World Health Assembly’s resolution on palliative care.
As depicted in the WHO infographic below, 86% of people who need palliative care do not receive it and 98% of children needing palliative care live in low and middle income countries.
In the United States, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, 44.6 percent of all deaths now take place under the care of a hospice program. This is up from 41.9 percent in 2010. People are technically “hospice eligible” when their health care provider determines that they are likely to die within six months, whether from a terminal illness or complications that come along with old age.
At a more local level, The Dartmouth Atlas, funded by The John A. Hartford Foundation, analyzes Medicare data to show us where the United States is making progress in patient-centered, evidence-based care for Medicare beneficiaries and where improvement is still needed. Health care providers in the San Diego region ranked poorly in how they care for older, dying Medicare patients; 16.8% did not receive hospice services until their last three days of life.
No one should have to wait until their last three days of life to receive palliative care and hospice services.