A new survey of 80 countries has zeroed in on the best place for palliative care.
Jones said the next challenges are to improve access to good end-of-life care as well as increase the training that staff get.
Hospice care is generally defined as focusing on palliation — or, treating pain without dealing with the underlying cause — for the terminally or chronically ill. Unlike general hospital treatment which focuses on eradicating a disease and therefore attacking the underlying causes, in hospice care a person is usually at death’s door and the purpose of the staff is to alleviate the suffering and make death as comfortable as possible for the individual. This can include giving pain medication as well as providing care for their emotional and spiritual needs.
Hospices were first developed back in the 11th century in Europe, and became a part of Roman Catholic tradition as a place where the sick, wounded, or dying could receive care and hospitality. They could also have provided care for travelers and pilgrims. The modern concept of a hospice is basically exclusively limited to terminally ill patients.
Sometimes, hospice care is doing in a hospital or a nursing home, but in order to provide the most comfortable care possible, sometimes this is conducted within the person’s own home, allowing that person to die in the place he or she is most comfortable in.
Hospice care has been a major movement in the UK, which is why it is considered the best in the world. The nation provides hundreds of hospice units and thousands of beds that have helped hundreds of thousands of people over the last few years. Funding is taken care of entirely by the National Health Service, requiring little to nothing out of pocket for the family to pay for the service.
Hospice is part of a growing movement toward pain management, a branch of medicine that focuses on easing suffering rather than attempting to eradicate disease all the time. It recognizes that all must die at some point and some diseases are not worth fighting against when there is a low chance of survival and a high degree of suffering, such as advanced stage cancer. In these cases, many people may elect not to battle the disease because of a near-zero likelihood of winning, and may elect instead to manage the pain under the supervision of a doctor. This can involve a large amount of staff, including not just medical practitioners but also pharmacists, psychologists, therapists, nurse practitioners, and physiotherapists, to name a few.
The pain is often treated with drugs like analgesics or even anxiolytics.