Palliative care integration indicators: an European regional analysis
Heart failure
Home care
Hospice care
Service evaluation
Transitional care
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Sánchez-Cárdenas MA, Garralda E, Arias-Casais NS, et alPalliative care integration indicators: an European regional analysisBMJ Supportive & Palliative Care Published Online First: 13 September 2021.
Objective To estimate the capacity of European countries to integrate palliative care (PC) into their health systems through PC service provision for patients of all ages, with different care needs and diseases, in various settings and by a range of providers. Methods Secondary analysis of survey data from 51 countries with 22 indicators explored the integration of available PC resources for children, for patients of all ages, at the primary care level, for oncology and cardiac patients, and in long-term care facilities. We also measured volunteer participation. Results were quantified, converted into weighted subscores by area and combined into a single ‘Integration Capacity Score (ICS)’ for each country. Results Thirty-eight countries reported 543 specialised paediatric PC services. One-third of all surveyed countries reported 20% or more of patients with PC needs at the primary care level. Twenty-four countries have a total of 155 designated centres that integrate oncology and PC. Eight countries were pioneering cardiology services that integrate PC. Eight reported a volunteer workforce of over 1000 and 12 had policies regulating PC provision and interventions in long-term care facilities. Across all indicators, 39 countries (76%) score from low to very low integration capacity, 8 (16%) score at an intermediate level, and 4 (8%; the Netherlands, UK, Germany and Switzerland) report a high-level integration of PC into their health systems. Conclusion Variable progress according to these indicators shows that most European countries are still in the process of integrating PC into their health systems.

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