Noncommunicable diseases and their risk factors

Palliative Care

Woman receiving palliative care in India.
WHO/Chris de Bode

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients – young and old – and their families who are facing the challenges associated with life-threatening illness. This is achieved through the prevention and relief of suffering, by means of early identification, assessment and treatment of pain and other physical, psychosocial and spiritual distress. Each year, 40 million people are in need of palliative care. Only 14% of people needing palliative care at the end of life currently receive it. Palliative care is an essential component of comprehensive health services for NCDs. In 2014, the first ever global resolution on palliative care, World Health Assembly resolution WHA67.19, called upon WHO and Member States to improve access to palliative care as a core component of health systems, with an emphasis on primary health care and community/home-based care.

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