Around the world, 90% of people in need of palliative care don't receive it, according to a new study released by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA). The report, which focused on end-of-life care, shows that the bulk of the need is related to noncommunicable diseases including stroke, cancer, and heart disease.
The study found that over 20 million people require palliative care at the end of life, with nearly 70% of those in need being adults over 60, and 9% being children. According to a press release announcing the report, "the number of people requiring this care rises to at least 40 million if all those that could benefit from palliative care at an earlier stage of their illness are included."
Nearly 80% of need is centered in low and middle-income countries, according to the report, but even among higher-income countries palliative care is not necessarily part of routine plans of care. The report's authors write that only 20 countries have "advanced integration of palliative care with wider health services."
"Despite increasing calls for palliative care to be recognized as a human right, there remains much to be done before palliative care is accessible to the worldwide community," the report states.
Physical therapists (PTs) play a crucial role in palliative care plans, particularly among patients poststroke or those with progressive illnesses of the lungs, heart, and brain. APTA has created a webpage focused on the physical therapy and palliative/hospice care that includes policy statements, videos, and resource directories.
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