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Dying Healed: Transforming End-Of-Life Care through Innovation

Dying Healed: Transforming End-Of-Life Care through Innovation

Dr James Cleary, Dr Liz Grant, Dr Richard Harding, Professor Alex Jadad, Dr Mark Steedman, and Karen Taylor OBE

Health systems need to develop new pathways to combat end-of-lifecare. All sectors of society are to play a role in this be it the families, health institutions and thinktanks. The challenges we are facing today is a lack of medical health professionals in this field, without which no progress can be made. This reports highlights the strides various countries have taken towards this direction and recommends that policy makers take essential steps to ensure quality specialized care is afforded at a better value.

Executive Summary

What is the Challenge?

Advances in medicine, nutrition, and other factors have allowed people to live longer. Yet one aspect of life is constant. Human mortality remains 100 percent; we all eventually die. While where and when we die is regularly studied, how we die is often avoided or ignored. This has led to an unacceptable amount of unnecessary suffering worldwide during the last year of life. Each year, over 100 million people would benefit from palliative care, yet fewer than 8 percent of those in need access it.1 This is a global tragedy, but it is one that can be effectively remedied.

We recognize that different countries are at different stages of establishing endof-life care – for some the creation of 24/7 community services will be the key development. For others it will be providing access to pain and symptom-controlling essential medicines and staff trained to administer them.

We present a five-step strategy for improving quality of life at the end-of-life with specific examples of innovations that have proven effective at reducing unnecessary suffering and improving end-of-life care in different settings and cultures.