I am delighted to contribute to this initiative of the Technical Advisory Group of the WHO initiative for Palliative Care, which is a comprehensive approach and a practical tool for designing, implementing, and evaluating Palliative Care Programs and Services with a Public Health perspective .We are all facing the challenge of an enormous increase of prevalence, mortality, and complexity of people with advanced chronic conditions . This causes suffering in patients and their families, and impact in the organization and costs of the Health Care System .
Universal access to high quality Palliative Care is one of the main elements of human rights, and should be part of the mainstream of any Health Care System, available to all types of patients with advanced chronic conditions and limited life prognosis, timely in their evolution based in needs, responding to all dimensions, provided by all professionals, and in all settings of care .
In Catalonia, Palliative Care is considered as one of the best elements of our Health Care System since 1990, as a WHO Demonstration Project . A comprehensive network of palliative care services has been designed and developed since, which has achieved high coverage, effectiveness, efficiency, and high satisfaction of patients and families . Moreover, the experience has been regularly evaluated and internationally recognized as a model of Public Health Palliative Care Program .
The palliative approach has been recently expanded to people with all chronic conditions in all settings within the Chronic Care Program at the Department of Health, with emphasis in the community . The Program has been improved by the model of psychosocial and spiritual care through “la Caixa” Foundation Program, and the community and society are involved in the Program of compassive communities that started in the city of Vic last year .
We are proud of this experience and strongly committed to share this approach with other governments and institutions around the world to contribute to relieve suffering of people in need in all countries, with respect for their culture and values, and inserted in their Health Care Systems .
The WHO Collaborating Centre for Palliative Care Programmes at the Catalan Institute of Oncology and the Chair of Palliative Care at the University of Vic are good examples and ambassadors of our experience .
This Manual, Building Integrated Palliative Care Programs and Services is a good example of this commitment of improving the dignity of care at the end of life .