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Published online: 2024-02-23

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The organisation of hospice and palliative care in Poland according to data from the National Health Fund: a cross-sectional study

Kacper Wilczkowski1, Szymon Jakub Rydzewski1, Julia Doskocz1, Jan Getek1, Bartosz Kaniowski1, Katarzyna Korzeniewska1, Filip Lebiedziński2, Maciej Pancewicz1, Leszek Pawłowski3

Abstract

Background: The article presents an overview of the state of Polish specialist hospice and palliative care with a focus on the distribution of funding, types of provided care and organization of units.

Methods: The paper analysed data from the National Health Fund’s database and the Registry of Entities Performing Medical Activity.

Results: As of May 2023, 522 medical entities offer hospice and palliative care services in Poland, with 84.4% being exclusive for adults, 4.9% exclusive for children and 10.1% available for both. The majority of the agreements are set on the model of home hospice, stressing the need for providing care in a familial environment. More in-patient settings (including free-standing stationary hospices and palliative medicine units in hospitals) and outpatient palliative medicine clinics also play a vital role in the provision of aforementioned services.

Conclusions: The study outlines the legal organization and structures of entities in Poland and provides insight into the allocation of obligations to different types of services. The findings show progress but also highlight the persisting challenges in funding and resource allocation. In summary, the article provides insight for policymakers and authorities for expanding and improving hospice and palliative care in Poland, with a focus on comprehensive and compassionate care for patients and their families.

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Palliative Medicine in Practice