At-home hospice care to be provided in Latvia

The Ministry of Health (VM) and Welfare Ministry (LM) plan to introduce a new state-paid service starting autumn this year – mobile team palliative care at the patient's home, according to a VM report presented at the government meeting on August 8.

The aim of the service would be to ensure the highest possible quality of life and relief of suffering for patients who need palliative and hospice care at the residence.

Although adult patients may currently receive palliative care from both hospitals and outpatient, the amount of these services is not sufficient, concluded VM.

“At the moment, palliative in-home care is provided for a relatively small number of patients with certain diagnoses, without fully covering the needs of all the patients concerned,” said VM

From November 1 2021 to April 30 2023, VM implemented a pilot project in the city of Liepāja and the Dienvidkurzeme municipality. The project aimed to provide a complex, comprehensive palliative care focused on a person with limited survival and their family, and to provide palliative care for as long as it is required based on clinical assessment and family choice.

VM has concluded that the pilot project has produced significant positive results.

The patient was provided with high-quality care during the final days of life, as well as a 60% reduction in the number of emergency calls for palliative care patients. The number of hospitalizations in palliative care patients has also decreased. The feedback received showed that 75% of the patients involved in the pilot project increased their self-assessment of quality of life.

In assessing the positive results of the project and the necessity of the service, the Ministry of Health requested additional funding for the implementation of the service throughout Latvia.

The service will include health and social components. The health component would be provided from the VM budget and the social component from the LM budget.

The VM service is scheduled to be introduced from autumn 2023. LM plans to provide social components in the mobile team palliative care service at the patient's residence as of January 1, 2024.

The average number of patients requiring palliative care at home could be 150 patients per 100,000 inhabitants per year, according to calculations performed by Liepāja Regional Hospital.

The new service plans to cover approximately 2,800 patients per year throughout Latvia.

The issue of allocating additional State budget resources for the full provision of the service will be examined in the coming years in the government's decision on the next year's budget.


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