Policy Measures to Support Palliative Care at Home: A Cross-Country Case Comparison in Three European Countries.


Authors: Maetens A., Beernaert K., Deliens L., Aubry R., Radbruch L., Cohen J.



The proportion of people in need of palliative care worldwide is rising, and the majority wish to receive this care at home. Many countries have created policy measures to support palliative care at home.


To list and compare existing policy measures designed to support palliative care at home in addition to available primary care services in Belgium, France, and Germany.


A cross-country case comparison based on expert consultation, governmental policy documents, and relevant scientific literature.Methods


All three countries have policy measures that allow informal caregivers to adapt their working patterns or take leave of absence to provide care without losing employee rights; however, only Belgium offers specific paid palliative care leave. All three countries offer various allowances to people who are dying at home and their caregivers. Cost-reductions for out-of-pocket expenses are available, based on the level of care dependency in Germany and on prognosis in Belgium, but are not provided in France. Mobile home support teams exist in all three countries and are free of charge for patients and caregivers; but only in Belgium and Germany, there are specialist multidisciplinary palliative home care teams. Belgium and Germany provide respite care for palliative patients.


European countries with similar contextual characteristics offer comparable policy measures to support palliative care at home in addition to the available primary care services. However, important differences exist in the criteria for access and the extent of what is offered.

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