Transitions in End of Life Care: Hospice and Related Developments in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Transitions in End of Life Care: Hospice and Related Developments in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Transitions in End of Life Care: Hospice and Related Developments in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Transitions in End of Life Care: Hospice and Related Developments in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Synopsis

To what extent have hospice and palliative care developments taken hold in the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union? Has health care reform in the wake of communism provided a climate for palliative care innovation? In which countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia have palliative care developments been most pronounced and what is the key to their success? Above all, what obstacles to improvement still exist and how can these be overcome? This study sets out to answer these questions and to provide a detailed analysis of hospice and related services in a vast region comprising 28 countries and a population of over 400 million people. This work provides valuable reading for anyone concerned with improving the level of provision of hospice and palliative care services in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and indeed elsewhere in the world.

Excerpt

Appropriate humane, compassionate care for patients and families with serious life-limiting illness should be an integral aspect of health care policy and delivery. This book is a first step in providing the quantitative and qualitative data needed to frame palliative care as a serious public health issue for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

An ageing population, a growing incidence and prevalence of cancer, and an emerging HIV/AIDS epidemic associated with intravenous drug use make a compelling argument for immediate attention to be given to palliative care in current health care system reform discussions. Mapping the field of available hospice and palliative care services in this large region is not an easy task, as David Clark and Michael Wright humbly admit. the availability of services changes. the information is observer-based and potentially incomplete. Some readers might believe it should be reported differently. Yet, it remains crucial to define the epidemiology and ethnography of the care of the dying if we are to understand the magnitude of the program and the current barriers to implement such care, particularly in many of these resource poor countries.

Over the last 3 years, the Open Society Institute’s Public Health Network Program’s Palliative Care Initiative has provided over 72 grants to Eastern Europe and Central Asia to advance hospice and palliative care programs. Working with OSI’s network of National Foundations and their public health coordinators, the needless suffering of dying patients and their families was identified as a priority in the OSI’s effort to give voice to vulnerable populations. This study is about some of those voices and the associated efforts to promote end of life care. the useful recommendations for next steps and the detailed country reports will serve as a briefing book for other . . .

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