World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world. It takes place on the second Saturday of October every year, and this year it was held on Saturday 8 October.
In addition to creating opportunities to speak out about the issues and increasing awareness of the needs of people with a life-limiting illness, the day aims to raise funds to assist and develop hospice and palliative care services globally.
Every year in the UK, hospices provide more than 26 million hours of tailored and compassionate care, supporting 360,000 patients and their families. From managing someone's pain, to looking after their emotional, spiritual and social needs, hospice care supports the whole person, helping them to live their life to the full.
This year World Hospice and Palliative Care Day tackles the critical issue of access to essential medicines for pain management and palliative care. According to the International Narcotics Control Board, 75% of the world’s population (5.5 billion people) do not have adequate access to controlled medications for pain relief. As a result, millions of people suffer from pain which is avoidable and could be managed with the correct medications. This year’s campaign focuses on three major barriers for access to pain relief; overly restrictive national regulations, poor education of healthcare providers in relation to opioid medications and economic barriers.
The UK has an increasingly ageing population, and illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have become a growing concern for palliative care providers. Elise Bevan, senior associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches LLP, comments: “Hospice care is an essential part of the medical services provided across the UK. As illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and dementia become more widespread, we need to raise awareness of the correct standard of care and ensure that people have access to this. There is no need for people to be suffering when the correct pain medications are widely available.”
For more information about World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, and to find out how you can become involved, visit http://www.thewhpca.org/world-hospice-and-palliative-care-day.