Canada is a pretty good place to die, according to ‘quality of death’ ranking
Where in the world is a good place to die?
The 2015 Quality of Death Index has placed Canada at No. 11 in a ranking of palliative care around the globe.
The U.K. came first, followed by Australia and New Zealand. The U.S. placed 9th on the list, while Iraq placed last.
The ranking, compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, assessed the availability, affordability and quality of palliative care in 80 countries.
Countries were scored out of 100 on 20 indicators across five categories:
- Palliative and healthcare environment — the country’s general palliative and healthcare framework,
- Human resources — the availability and training of medical professionals and support staff,
- Affordability of care — the availability of public funds for palliative care and financial burden on patients,
- Quality of care — monitoring guidelines, availability of opioids, the extent of partnership between professionals and patients in care,
- Community engagement — availability of volunteers and public awareness of palliative care.
The index was built using official data and existing research along with interviews with palliative care experts from around the world.
In many countries, populations are aging while non-communicable diseases requiring expensive treatment, such as cancer and heart disease, are on the rise.
“The need for palliative care is also therefore set to rise significantly,” the report states.
An aging population is a very real issue here in Canada: the first time in history, the number of people aged 65 and over has surpassed the number of people aged 14 and under in the country.
The report aims to highlight the advances being made to improve end of life care, while exposing the challenges and gaps that remain in both policy and infrastructure.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the index shows that wealthy countries tend to be rank higher when it comes to end of life care.
A troubling finding in the report is the lack of basic end of life care in some developing countries, leaving many to suffer.
“Many developing countries are unable to offer basic pain management, leaving millions of people dying an agonizing death.”
However, money is not the only hurdle to improving end of life care.
“For policymakers, major issues to consider are availability of care, human resources and training, affordability of care, quality of care and community engagement through public awareness campaigns and support volunteers.”
© 2015 Shaw Media