Palliative care aims at improving the quality of life of both
patients and their families, by addressing not only the physical
symptoms associated with the patient’s condition, but also its emotional,
psychological, spiritual, social and economic repercussions. Palliative
care is thus fundamental to human dignity and should be available
to all persons who need it.
In Europe, hundreds of thousands of people do not have access
to appropriate palliative care services, including, in particular,
access to appropriate pain relief. Consequently, patients and families
suffer needlessly, while health-care systems are put under additional
strain due to unnecessary and costly hospital admissions and emergency
services. Informal caregivers play a crucial role in palliative
care provision and should be adequately supported in this role.
With a view to ensuring access to quality palliative care
for everyone who needs it, member States should recognise palliative
care as a human right and fully integrate it into their health-care
system. They should remove all obstacles that restrict access to
pain-relieving medication in the context of palliative care, and ensure
adequate training on palliative care for health-care professionals.
They should also provide comprehensive support for informal caregivers,
including respite services.