LONDON, Oct. 10 (UPI) — Everyone dies. The goal is to last as long as possible, and to go peacefully and with dignity. For much of the world, dying well is a challenge.
A new report from the Economist, dubbed the Quality of Death Index, ranks nations based on the quality of their palliative and hospice care. The United Kingdom tops the list, with the rest of the top ten mostly occupied by wealthy nations of the West, including the United States, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and France.
Australia, coming in at number two, joins New Zealand and Taiwan as the only non-Western countries to crack the top ten. Canada ranks number 11.
Some of the worst places to die include India, China, Mexico, Brazil and Uganda. But these countries aren’t alone in their poor performance. Palliative care remains lacking in much of the world. Of the 80 countries included in the index, only 34 were found to have “above average” systems of end-of-life care.
Some 85 percent of the world’s population is without access to quality palliative care.
Room for improvement remains, even in countries ranked high on the list. The report commends the United States for a palliative care system that is “transparent,” but characterized much of America’s end-of-life care as unaffordable and understaffed.
“The number of specialists falls short of patient needs,” the report claims. “There is only one palliative medicine physician for every 1,200 terminally ill patients.”
Another report confirmed the United Kingdom’s place atop the list. The watchdog group Care Quality Commission recently found that 90 percent of England’s hospice care facilities were rated as either “good” or “outstanding.”