Older people missing out on end of life care

The theme of the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day in October was concerned with dispelling the myths around palliative and end of life care that are preventing more rapid progress of such care.

Myths-vs-FactsOlder people at the end of life are missing out on vital care and support because of a lack of access to palliative care services. Recent estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that around 24 million adults require palliative care at the end of life each year and 66% of these are over 60 years old.

Despite this growing need, 42% of countries still have no identified hospice and palliative care service, while 80% of people globally lack adequate access to medication for treatment of moderate to severe pain. This means millions of older people, especially in the developing world, are living and dying in unnecessary pain and distress.

David Praill, co-chair of the World Palliative Care Association and Chief Executive of UK charity Help the Hospices, said:
“World Hospice and Palliative Care Day shines a light on neglected or marginalised groups that are unable to get the care that they require.
“It is totally unacceptable that older people, wherever they are based, are unable to access the care that they need to live and die with dignity and respect. With the rising incidence of non-communicable diseases and the ageing of the HIV pandemic, it is even more pressing that urgent action is taken.”

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