Lessons Learned from Countries That Have Introduced Palliative Care Services into Their National Health System: A Narrative Review

Hammoda Abu-Odah, Alex Molassiotis, Justina Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This review aims at gaining a broad overview of national approaches about Palliative care (PC) implementation into health care systems in countries that have PC identified within their national policies and strategies. Methods: Paper searching was conducted using both peer-reviewed databases and gray literature sources covering governmental reports with PC strategies from 2000 onward. Articles published in English that cited at least 1 category of the WHO’s public health PC model were included. Qualitative content analysis was used for data analysis and synthesis of findings. Results: Thirteen reports met the inclusion criteria. Education and appropriate policies were the most frequent strategies covered by all countries included. Under education; information about training health care providers was needed for the effective introduction of a PC program. Reviewing standards of care required to deliver PC effectively, and financial support for PC service development were considered the central policies needed. Furthermore, partnerships and collaborations across the health systems as well as providing care based on patients’ needs were required for the provision of a PC program. Conclusion: It is of the essence to learn from countries demonstrating enhanced PC practices before the implementation of a new PC program in a given country. Such practices could be used as a guide and to address barriers that may hinder the development of PC at a national level. Best practices can be achieved by focusing on educational and policy-based strategies through identifying patients’ needs, assessing general public awareness, health care providers’ knowledge and training as well as incorporating stakeholders’ perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-66
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Palliative Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • health care system
  • implementation services
  • lessons learned
  • national plans
  • national policies
  • palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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