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World Hospice and Palliative Care Day

October 11, 2021 |

Topic: Palliative Care

The 9th October 2021 sees the world unite in celebration and support of hospice and palliative care around the Globe. After a tragic 18 months where many have died as a result of COVID-19, the focus is on ensuring every individual regardless of where they live, who they love, their background or age, has fair access to quality palliative care.

The development of hospice and palliative care

Palliative care, so named from the Latin term pallium, meaning ‘cloak’, started out during the birth of hospice care. From as early as the 1800s hospice care was driven by caregivers in religious institutions to serve the sick and reduce their suffering without the possibility of a cure. It wasn’t until the late 1900s that the hospice revolution happened and hospice care became an official medical subspecialty[1].

Since then the practice of palliative care has advanced around the world as medical professionals and caregivers recognised the importance and benefits of valuing a person’s needs and wishes when nearing the end of life.

What still needs to be done?

Led by the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance, the theme ‘Leave no-one behind – equity in access to palliative care’[2] aims to turn the attention towards a future where policy makers and governments establish a palliative care package available to everyone and tailored to individual needs.

It is estimated that globally, 18 million people die in unnecessary pain and distress each year[3]. Sadly, palliative care is inadequately funded across the globe and often does not form part of universal health coverage. This results in individuals and their families who may be living in low income countries, are elderly, are part of the LGBTQ+ community, are children or have a physical or cognitive impairment; not being able to access the right support when they need it most[4].

It’s a misconception that palliative care is only provided during the last days of a person’s life.     

Palliative care is described by the World Health Organization as “The prevention and relief of suffering of adult and paediatric patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness….”[5] Therefore, from the moment a person is diagnosed with a life limiting illness, palliative care plays a pivotal role in the life of the individual and their loved ones.

Resources available to support your learning

At Altura Learning we also celebrate and show our appreciation to the dedicated staff and providers who devote their lives to easing the suffering of others. Our residential care and home care learning libraries offer a series of end of life courses for care and nursing staff working in the field of palliative and end of life care.

Our course, Palliative Care: End of Life Care, offers an in-depth look at how to ensure dignity, comfort, and person centred care for older individuals and their families in their own home. Recognising end of life care as the final stage of palliative care, this course explores the use of advance care plans and explains with compassion the dying process. 

Our residential care courses, End of Life Care: Bereavementand End of Life Care: Symptom Management are suitable for all staff working in care and nursing homes, supporting individuals and their families before, during and after death.

Our bereavement course records real life accounts of family members who have faced the loss of a loved one and the impact grief has had on their life. Including the often unspoken anticipatory grief which occurs before a loved one dies; not only for the family members, but for the individual living with a terminal illness. 

End of life care: Symptom Management, explains how to recognise symptoms that may be present when a person is dying, and provides practical strategies to manage those physical and psychological symptoms such as pain.

To find out more please visit Altura Learning.


[1] National Today

[2] World Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance

[3] World Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance

[4] Ehospice

[5] Palliative Care

palliative care training courses
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