Quality (318) Quality health services and palliative care: practical approaches and resources to support policy, strategy and practice

24 December, 2021

WHO Technical Document: Quality health services and palliative care: practical approaches and resources to support policy, strategy and practice



'As countries commit to achieving universal health coverage, it is imperative to ensure that the design and delivery of palliative care services place attention on quality of care, with action needed across all domains of quality health services: effectiveness, safety, people-centredness, timeliness, equity, integration and efficiency. Providing compassionate, dignified and people-centred palliative care is an ethical responsibility of health systems.

'This document provides a practical resource to support implementation of sustainable improvements in the quality of palliative care. It describes approaches to quality policy, strategy and planning for palliative care programmes and services, presents learning on quality of care arising from palliative care programmes, and offers considerations on measurement of quality palliative care services at all levels of the health system. The document also highlights relevant WHO resources available that further support the development of quality palliative care services.

'The audience for this document is a general one that includes policy-makers, palliative care service planners, managers, practitioners and health care providers at all levels.'

The document ends with a 'call to action on learning':

'This document is just a starting point for exploring quality palliative care. There is a vital need to initiate and increase efforts in generating learning on quality palliative care worldwide. This not only includes research, but importantly also country learning through case studies and communities of practice, as well as examining the complexities, challenges and successes of implementing quality palliative care across all levels of the health system. The WHO Global Learning Laboratory for Quality UHC aims to understand the stories behind improving health care quality, paying close attention to the interventions and actions applied to achieve desired health service improvement (58). This is an important forum for shared learning going forward as countries take action on quality palliative care.'


Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator, neil@hifa.org www.hifa.org