European Palliative Care Day: 15th June 2023
European Palliative Care Day is an opportunity to demonstrate the strength and unity of the EAPC network of member associations while at the same time raising awareness about the importance of palliative care.
This is the first time we have launched this day and look forward to it growing from strength to strength each year.
The specific aims of this campaign are to:
1. Highlight palliative care as being fundamental to the provision of universal health coverage with the general public, professionals and policy makers in Europe.
2. Support improved health literacy about palliative care among the public, patients, professionals and policy-makers in Europe.
Palliative Care in Europe:
Palliative Care is a human right, a moral imperative and a global ethical responsibility. Palliative care is for people of all ages (from pre-natal palliative care through to old age) and is relevant across all diseases at all stages, not just at the end of life. Utilising impeccable assessment, palliative care takes a holistic approach to addressing the physical, spiritual and psychosocial needs of people living with life limiting or life-threatening conditions. Palliative care is ideally provided by a multidisciplinary team and aims to maintain or improve people’s quality of life.
According to the EAPC Atlas of Palliative Care in Europe (available here) each year it is estimated that 4.4 million people will need palliative care. As populations age and the burden of non-communicable disease increases, the need for palliative care will grow. In 2014, the World Health Organization stated that palliative care is a moral imperative of health systems, and it should be integrated into all levels of health care as part of universal health coverage (WHA 67.19).
Unfortunately, due to disparities in the provision of and access to services, many people will not be able to access or receive palliative care. These inequities, result in the experience of preventable and unresolved suffering and reduced quality of life for patients with life-limiting conditions, such as cancer and other non-communicable diseases. Data also demonstrates that across Europe there is huge variation in the provision, quality and integration of palliative care into health services. Findings suggest that in many European countries palliative care is not included in national policy. In addition, issues remain regarding access to essential medicines used in palliative care, including strong opioids for the management of pain and other distressing symptoms. Another challenge which impacts on awareness and the quality of service, is that education and training in palliative care is not routinely included in healthcare workforce education and training programmes. These disparities mean that vulnerable people and their families who are living in Europe with a life-limiting illness are experiencing preventable and unresolved suffering.
Our campaign will be launched online on Monday 15 May, one month in advance of European Palliative Care Day (on 15 June 2023). During this month, we will use our digital media channels to promote and highlight the campaign.
European Palliative Care Day 2023 will be celebrated on the opening day of the 18th World Congress in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, where we will host a range of interactive activities for attendees and will have enhanced social media presence to mark the day.