Palliative care for all? How can Brazil develop a palliative care service founded on principles of equity and access for all?

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Purpose of review

Despite the historical international development of palliative care over the last 50 years, provision of equity of care and access to appropriate medication remains a major problem in many countries across the world. Interest in the public health approach to end-of-life care has grown over the last 20 years. Models of palliative care, which are affordable and provide equity of care are changing through these new concepts. We describe an existing model of practice in a primary care setting in Rio Grande in Brazil, which could act as a template for redesign of palliative care services.

Recent findings

Traditional models of palliative care have focussed on the physical, social, psychological and spiritual domains. Abel and Kellehear have proposed a new model, uniting specialist and generalist palliative care with compassionate communities and the civic component encapsulated in the compassionate city charter. This model is more comprehensive, emphasizing both harm reduction and health and well being promotion, and is currently being rolled out within the Family Health Strategy in Rio Grande in Brazil.


An existing model of palliative care, which includes the public health approach in Rio Grande be used as a basis for more equitable palliative care in Brazil, to meet a large unmet need.

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