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World Health Organisation studies

Following collaborations with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2004, our Department continues to research and promote better palliative care and end of life care for older people.

The WHO guides 'Palliative Care: The Solid Facts' (PDF 665 KB) (Davies & Higginson, 2004) and 'Better Palliative Care for Older People' (PDF, 575 KB) (Davies & Higginson, 2004) provide the basis for this work.

This project is an EAPC taskforce. You can visit the EAPC website for more information.

Palliative Care for Older People: better practices (2011)

Edited by: Sue Hall, Hristina Petkova, Agis D Tsouros, Massimo Costantini and Irene J Higginson

Report: Download now (PDF, 2.56MB)

“I am convinced that this publication will be a source of inspiration, awareness and action.” - Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe

Meeting the palliative care needs of our ageing population is a challenging and growing public health issue. This new WHO publication provides examples of better palliative care for older people to help governments, policy-makers, practitioners and voluntary and statutory organizations meet the needs of this vulnerable population. It builds on two previous publications in the WHO Solid Facts series, Palliative care – the solid facts and Better palliative care for older people, which set out the growing needs of older people, showed some of the problems faced in the European Region and introduced the concept of palliative care. For the new guidance we gathered innovative and creative examples of palliative care for older people focusing on the European Region.

These examples were appraised by an international panel of experts from different disciplines and countries. We included examples of ways to improve palliative care in various settings such as in hospitals, in nursing homes and at home. We also included examples of how symptoms can be improved, family members and caregivers supported and staff educated in the many places in which older people receive care. Since we did not have the space to cover many other examples, these are listed in the accompanying table. Our recommendations highlight the need to develop, invest in and implement palliative care strategies that include specifically the needs of older people and highlight the need to invest in research programmes to determine the cost-effectiveness of ways to improve palliative care for older people. This work was supported by funding from the Fondazione Maruzza Lefebvre D’Ovidio Onlus.

Table: Additional examples of better practices in palliative care for older people

Report: Download now (PDF, 348KB)



This table includes the examples of better practices in palliative care for older people not included in the WHO publication Palliative care for older people: better practices. We have gathered these from the literature and an international call for examples. Where possible, we included in the publication examples from the WHO European Region.

However, examples from outside the Region are included when these were considered more innovative or more rigorously evaluated than European examples and are relevant to European settings. Examples were appraised by an international panel of experts from different disciplines and countries.



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