Everyone deserves to receive quality care during the last days of their life. Everyone deserves to have their physical needs attended to, and, as importantly, their emotional and spiritual needs met. Everyone who has a loved one with a life-limiting illness deserves compassion and support. It is the mission of hospice and palliative care professionals to provide this care, this hope, and this kindness.
October 14 marks World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, “a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world.”
No One Left Behind
World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is held on the second Saturday in October. This year’s theme is particularly relevant as the US health care system faces significant change: Universal Health Coverage and Palliative Care – Don’t leave those suffering behind. The goals behind this important day are to:
Worldwide, only 14 percent of the palliative care need is met at end of life. That means of the 20 million people who need this care, less than 3 million receive it. Organizations around the world are demanding that palliative care be included as an essential component of universal health care plans; events include lectures, concerts, roundtable discussions, home visits, pop-up shops, meetings with governmental officials, and new initiatives to bring this issue to the forefront.
In Sudan, for example, Comboni College of Science and Technology opened the Palliative Care Resource Centre. The inaugural event included 20-minute talks, a folklore dance, and the graduation of health professionals who completed an intensive palliative care course.
Big or small, every step towards awareness, and funding, is critical. What can you do? You can participate in an event near you, organize your own, or download the World Hospice Palliative Care Alliance draft letter to governments demanding that palliative care be included in universal health care coverage. The WHPCA has a helpful toolkit so we can all participate in this day of unity and action.