As part of the effort to achieve universal coverage of palliative care, the theme for this year’s World Hospice and Palliative Care day is: ‘Achieving universal coverage of palliative care: Dispelling the myths’.

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on 12 October 2013 is a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world. Inaccurate information about hospice and palliative care creates barriers to access that are unnecessary and lead to greater suffering. We are out to dispel these unhelpful myths and promote the facts through this year’s theme.

1. MYTH: I can only get palliative care in hospital

FACT: Palliative care services are offered in many places, including hospitals, hospices and in your own home.

2. MYTH: Palliative care manages pain through the use of addictive narcotics.

FACT: Palliative care is whole person care that provides psychosocial and spiritual care along with pain and symptom management.

3. MYTH: Hospice and palliative care accelerates death.

FACT: Hospice and palliative care aims to neither prolong nor accelerate death but rather ensures quality of life until the very end.

4. MYTH: Hospice and palliative care is just for people with cancer

FACT: All those who are diagnosed with a chronic life-limiting illness can benefit from hospice and palliative care

5. MYTH: Hospices are generally just for old people

FACT: Hospice and palliative care is provided to people of all ages – from infancy to adulthood.

6. MYTH: Everyone has access to hospice and palliative care

FACT: Though every person has the right to hospice and palliative care, there are many around the world who do not have access to hospice and palliative care.

7. MYTH: Having hospice and palliative care means you will die soon.

FACT: Hospice and palliative care is not just for the end of life. It is a holistic approach that includes caregiver support, spiritual care, bereavement and much more.

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