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Researchers at Harvard Medical School in the US have found that patients receiving palliative care lived a longer, better life then those not receiving the care.

Read an editorial on the report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

‘Quality of life is a common phrase but quality of death is another matter’, a quote from a recent report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a global research firm providing business analysis on a wide variety of subjects.

In Quality of Life: Ranking End-of-Life Care Across the World, EIU reports that as the global population ages, the demand for end-of-life care is expected to surge and governments and other providers are racing against time to meet these needs.
Britain topped the list for the best end-of-life care, followed by Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Austria.    According to the study, institutions specialising in palliative care are not part of the national healthcare systems and the availability of pain-killing drugs is woefully inadequate across much of the world.   This leads to ‘an incalculable surfeit of suffering, not just for those about to die but also for their loved ones’, states the report.

The report also cites data showing that more than 100 million patients and their family care givers need palliative support annually, but fewer than 8 % of them actually receive it.

Palliative Care Australia, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Ageing, recently released the National Standards Assessment Program [NASP], a guideline designed to boost the level of care provided by palliative care institutions.

According to an article in the Sydney Star Observer, the standards are welcomed by providiers and families, but all are aware that this was only the first step.  The standards are guidelines only, the test will be to see if they are used by service providers.

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