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Global Atlas of Palliative Care at the End of Life

The need for palliative care has never been greater and is increasing at a rapid pace due to the world’s ageing population and increases in cancer and other noncommunicable diseases.

January 2014 // World Health Organization

The need for palliative care has never been greater and is increasing at a
rapid pace due to the world’s ageing population and increases in cancer
and other noncommunicable diseases. Despite this need, palliative care
is underdeveloped in most of the world, and outside North America,
Europe, and Australia, access to quality palliative care is very rare.
Palliative care is expanding in the developed world in spite of myths and
misunderstanding about its nature and purpose, but is only beginning to
be available in the developing world where it is needed most.
Since the early 1980s, the need for palliative care for cancer patients
has been progressively acknowledged worldwide. More recently, there
is increased awareness of the need for palliative care for other chronic
diseases or conditions such as HIV/AIDS, congestive heart failure,
cerebrovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, chronic respiratory
diseases, drug-resistant tuberculosis, and diseases of older people.
However, there remains a huge unmet need for palliative care for these
chronic life-limiting health problems in most parts of the world.
The purpose of this Atlas is to shine a light on the need for palliative care
globally and to provide useful information for those wishing to increase
access. This document addresses the following questions:

What is palliative care?
Why is palliative care a human rights issue?
What are the main diseases requiring palliative care?
What is the need for palliative care?
What are the barriers to palliative care?
Where is palliative care currently available?
What are the models of palliative care worldwide?
What resources are devoted to palliative care?
What is the way forward?

 

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