Global Atlas of Palliative Care at the End of Life


Jointly developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA) this is the first ever Global Atlas of Palliative Care at the End of Life. This document describes the need for, and availability of, palliative care worldwide. The Atlas provides evidence on palliative care needs across different disease groups and conditions in adults and children. Comprehensive information, such as that contained in this document, is essential to persuade policy makers to take action to integrate palliative care more broadly into health systems.

The definition of palliative care in this document includes some insight into the “comprehensive” nature by including the following statements1:

  1. Palliative care is needed in chronic as well as life-threatening/limiting-conditions
  2. There is no time or prognostic limit on the delivery of palliative care
  3. The Global Atlas describes the need for palliative care at all levels of care

a) Palliative care should be present at 3 levels:

i.  Through a “palliative care approach” adopted by all healthcare professionals;
ii.  “general palliative care” provided by primary care professionals and those treating patients with life-threatening diseases, with a good basic knowledge of palliative care
iii.  “specialist palliative care” provided by specialized teams for patients with complex problems.

  1. Global Atlas of Palliative Care at the End of Life. Worldwide palliative care alliance / World Health Organization. January 2014. Page 7.

For more information:
Download the Atlas – PDF 

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