With more chronic conditions and an ageing population, a growing share of the population will need end-of-life care, reaching close to 10 million people by 2050. While end-of-life care services help improve quality of life through relieving pain and other symptoms, currently, there are substantial gaps in the provision of services. More than half of deaths still occur in hospital across OECD countries, despite home generally being the preferred place of death, because of lack of appropriate services and poor care co-ordination. There are marked inequalities in access with people from higher education twice as likely to receive end-of-life care services than those with low education. Planning, recording of wishes and shared decision-making fall short of what is desirable, with only one-quarter of wishes being recorded in the form of advance directives. People at the end of life do not always receive appropriate symptom relief, while others suffer from overtreatment. This report suggests avenues to improve care for the dying by enhancing measurement and monitoring of quality and rethinking funding and governance models of care. End-of-life care could also be improved by increasing knowledge among health care staff across different care settings, and making communication around the topic more person-centred.
This series of publications analyses the organisation and performance of health systems, and factors explaining performance variations. Studies are conducted on such topics as co-ordination of care, pharmaceutical pricing, long-term care and disability, health workforce and international migration of health workers, information and communications technologies in health care, and the economics of prevention.
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