Presented by: Arno Maetens
The proportion of persons in need of palliative care worldwide is rising, and the majority wishes to receive this care at home. The availability of appropriate policies is a key component to develop quality palliative care for patients and informal caregivers. Many countries have created specific supportive policy measures to support palliative care at home. Mapping out what policies exist across different countries allows to improve national public health strategies for palliative home care.
This study uses a cross-country case comparison in Belgium, France and Germany based on expert consultation, governmental policy documents and relevant scientific literature.
All three countries have policy measures that allow informal caregivers to change their working time or take leave from work to provide care without losing employee rights. All three countries offer various allowances to home-dwelling persons and their caregivers. Cost-reductions for out-of-pocket costs exist based on care dependency level in Germany and prognosis in Belgium, but not in France. Mobile home support teams exist in all three countries and are free of charge for patients and caregivers; only in Belgium and Germany this concerns specialist multidisciplinary palliative home care teams. Belgium and Germany organise respite care for palliative patients.
European countries with similar contextual characteristics offer comparable policy measures to support palliative care at home. However, important differences exist in the necessary conditions and extent of what is offered. This knowledge can help national health policy makers to further improve support for palliative care in the home setting.