WHA Palliative Care Resolution (2014) – Summarised

(1) To develop, strengthen and implement, where appropriate, palliative care policies to support the comprehensive strengthening of health systems to integrate evidence-based, cost-effective and equitable palliative care services in the continuum of care, across all levels, with emphasis on primary care, community and home-based care, and universal coverage schemes;

(2) To ensure adequate domestic funding and allocation of human resources, as appropriate, for palliative care initiatives, including development and implementation of palliative care policies, education and training, and quality improvement initiatives, and support the availability and appropriate use of essential medicines, including controlled medicines for symptom management;

(3) To provide basic support, including through multisectoral partnerships, to families, community volunteers and other individuals acting as caregivers, under the supervision of trained professionals, as appropriate;

(4) To aim to include palliative care as an integral component of the ongoing education and training offered to care providers, in accordance with their roles and responsibilities, according to the following principles:

(a) Basic training and continuing education on palliative care should be integrated as a routine element of all undergraduate medical and nursing professional education, and as part of in-service training of caregivers at the primary care level, including health care workers, caregivers addressing patients’ spiritual needs and social workers;

(b) Intermediate training should be offered to all health care workers who routinely work with patients with life-threatening illnesses, including those working in oncology, infectious diseases, paediatrics, geriatrics and internal medicine;

(c) Specialist palliative care training should be available to prepare health care professionals who will manage integrated care for patients with more than routine symptom management needs;

(5) To assess domestic palliative care needs, including pain management medication requirements, and promote collaborative action to ensure adequate supply of essential medicines in palliative care, avoiding shortages;

(6) To review, and, where appropriate, revise national and local legislation and policies for controlled medicines, with reference to WHO policy guidance1 to improve access and rational use of pain management medicines, in line with the United Nations international drug control conventions;

(7) To update, as appropriate, national essential medicines lists, in the light of the recent addition of sections on pain and palliative care medicines to the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines and the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for Children;

(8) To foster partnerships between governments and civil society, including patients’ organizations, to support, as appropriate, the provision of services for patients requiring palliative care;

(9) To implement and monitor palliative care actions included in WHO’s global action plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases 2013–2020;

Specific for children

  1. 1. Integration of palliative care for children into all health care systems, including specific policies, strategies and programmes
  2. 2. All professionals caring for these children to have the necessary education, knowledge and skills to provide children’s palliative care
  3. 3. Pain and palliative care medicines for children, including opioids, be available in paediatric formulations.