World Hospice and Palliative Care Day Date in the current year: October 8, 2022

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is observed annually on the second Saturday of September. It is a global awareness day created to highlight the importance of hospice and palliative care for people suffering from life-threatening diseases.

The term “palliative care” refers to a caregiving approach that aims to optimize quality of life and mitigate suffering among people affected by life-threatening illnesses. Its main goals are to mitigate unpleasant symptoms, reduce pain, optimize comfort, and address psychological distress. Palliative care is sometimes confused with end-of-life care, but palliative care can improve quality of life at any stage of illness.

In the United States, there is a distinction between palliative care and hospice care. Palliative care may include curative therapies and, as we’ve already mentioned above, is not restricted to terminally ill patients who have little left to live, whereas hospice care is provided to patients who have less than half a year to live and focuses on psychological support and comfort.

Outside the United States, however, the term hospice usually refers to an institution specializing in palliative care or a building where this type of care is provided. Hospices provide care both to patients with palliative care needs and to patients with end-of-life care needs.

According to statistics, at least 40 million people around the world need palliative care annually, half of them at the end of life. 18 million of these die in distress and pain that could be avoided had they access to palliative care. In addition, over three quarters of the world’s population does not have adequate access to pain medications, which are essential to hospice and palliative care. World Hospice and Palliative Care Day was created to raise awareness of these and other challenges.

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day was launched in 2005 by the World Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA), an international NGO with member organizations in more than 100 countries that focuses on the development of hospice and palliative care worldwide. The mission of the WHPCA is to unite the global palliative care community in order to improve well-being and reduce suffering for people in need of palliative care.

Every year, over a hundred events are held in several dozen countries to celebrate the importance of hospice and palliative care, raise awareness of the challenges that those in need of palliative care face on a daily basis, and advocate for equitable access to palliative care for all, especially in low and middle income countries. These events include conferences, seminars and webinars, live discussions, film screenings, concerts, community events, fundraisers, art exhibitions, cycle rallies, walk-a-thons, and many more.

You can participate in World Hospice and Palliative Care Day by attending an event near you, donating to an organization that supports people in need of hospice and palliative care and their families, sharing your experience with palliative care (if you have any and if you feel comfortable sharing it), and spreading the word about the awareness day on social media.

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International Observances

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World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, international observances, hospice care, palliative care, end-of-life care