Integrating Palliative Care into National Policies

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Good policies lay the groundwork for an effective health care system and society. They facilitate the implementation of palliative care programs aimed at providing care for all people in need of these services, and they ensure equitable access to affordable medications and therapies. The lack of good policies can lead to unnecessary suffering and costs for patients, families, and society. Three-quarters of cancer patients worldwide are incurable when diagnosed. Because the size of the problem-and the suffering associated with cancer-is enormous, development of a national cancer control policy is an effective point of entry to begin integrating palliative care into a country's health care system. To be comprehensive, every cancer center must include palliative care. Ideally, palliative care is incorporated as a priority within all aspects of each country's national health plan, so that all patients living with or dying from any chronic disease may have their suffering relieved, including children and the elderly. To this end, policies that address essential medicines must include a list of palliative care medications. Supplies of affordable, generic medications that are "equally efficient" must be adequate and available throughout the country wherever patients live (especially opioids for pain control). © 2007 U.S. Cancer Pain Relief Committee.




Stjernswärd, J., Foley, K. M., & Ferris, F. D. (2007). Integrating Palliative Care into National Policies. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 33(5), 514–520.

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