Approximately 58 million people die in the world every year, or more than one million per week. At least 35 million of these people will die of chronic life limiting illnesses and if we include family and carers who need help and assistance in caring, at least 100 million people worldwide would benefit from hospice and palliative care.
Unfortunately, we estimate that less than 8% of those that need hospice and palliative care access it.
Palliative care improves the quality of life of patients and families who are affected by life-limiting illness, by providing pain and symptom relief and spiritual and psychosocial support from diagnosis to the end of life and bereavement. Without hospice and palliative care people living with and affected by life-limiting illness can suffer severe pain and avoidable distress.
There are numerous barriers to the provision of hospice and palliative care. These include:
lack of funding
lack of trained health professionals
neglect of hospice and palliative care in policy at the global and national level
poor access to medications, particularly opioids.
Despite the barriers to service provision, hospice and palliative care providers worldwide have shown that quality care can be provided to patients and their families and carers, even when resources are extremely limited.